Back To Basics with Vivien Of Holloway

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One of the issues I’ve always had with my wardrobe is that it’s seriously hotchpotch; I have lot of bold, patterned clothes that often clash and rarely go together. Last year (2016), I worked to remedy this by building a wardrobe of staples that I could mix and match. Flo is an expert in creating a cohesive wardrobe so I had to think like her a bit more!

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My two favourite staples came in the form of a slash neck top and a circle skirt. I have a lot of patterned circle skirts and a lot of my tops are in less common colours. To make my wardrobe a little more user-friendly, I opted for ‘Flo’ colours – navy and red. With both of these pieces in my wardrobe, I had more outfit combinations to choose from.

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Navy and red are such a classic colour combination and they never fail to look smart together! For this outfit, I added black boots and this gorgeous coat that I’ve previously blogged about.

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I always love the quality of Vivien of Holloway clothing – they’re such a good investment. You can easily wear the top with jeans/trousers or you can pop it over the top of a dress. The skirt can be worn with a multitude of different tops – at Christmas, I teamed it with a roll-neck.

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My make-up is the same as always. For my hair, I tried more of a forties look by pinning back my hair and fluffing up my fringe.

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What are the foundations of your wardrobe? Which items do you always like to go back to?

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Although the surroundings of these photos are particularly beautiful, it’s not nicest weather to be in without a coat! Thanks for putting up with my moaning @darktechsupport.

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A Lock-In With Miss Victory Violet In Photos

Last night (27/1/17),  Flo and I legged it to London for an evening of shopping, mingling and glamorising. Miss Victory Violet was hosting a ‘Lock-In’ at Vivien of Holloway for eight lucky ladies, Flo and I included! For three hours, we sipped champagne, tried on lots of clothes and got to know some wonderful ladies. If you get the chance to go to one of these events, we highly recommend them!

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The gorgeous Emily in daisies and the beautiful Rhina in red specs

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Yes – that’s Flo in trousers

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Rhina – the poser
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The very co-ordinated Nicky
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Jill – queen of black and red combos
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Rachel – chief of hair and clothing pairings
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Deborah – a seriously stylish brainy lady
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Accessories…decisions, decisions

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Flo’s bank account taking damage
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Consulting with Miss Victory Violet

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The VOH crew

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Happy faces!

Frankie and Gerry’s Retro Studio Part 2 – Shake, Rattle and Roll!

A little while ago I told all you all about our trip up to Frankie and Gerry’s Retro studio. I have only fond memories of that long weekend, and thought it was time for Part 2 and some of the greats shots from another set. This time I bring you the pink and blue 1950s-inspired kitchen!

Now, I am a massive fan of pottering about in the kitchen and so I was right at home on this second fabulous set! It did, however, call for a change of outfit. So off I went to raid the Glamour Bunny rails once more. I settled on a two pieces this time; the pink high waist capri pants and the Cynthia pinup rockabilly top (also in pink)…because one’s outfit must match one’s surroundings for such a shoot right ladies?

Here I am wearing the fuscia pink Capri pants in a small (Waist – 26, Hip – 37, Length – approx 23″). It is important to note that these pants are a beautiful stretchy fabric, so although they really nip you in at the waist, not uncomfortably so and they are actually really comfy and easy to move about in. They retail at a fair £45.00 and have such a rockabilly feel that I absolutely love them!

I teamed these bright fuscia pink pants with the pastel pink Cynthia pinup rockabilly top. This top has less stretch than the pants, however I found the sizing to be in keeping with the Glamour Bunny size chart and once again I went for the small (bust 34″ Waist 26-27″ Hips 37). This top sits high on the waist and so compliments the high waisted Capri pants perfectly. The top is £48.00 but the quality is superb. And if pink is not your thing…you can also grab it in pastel blue as well!

What better a way to complete this outfit than my matching pale pink hair scarf from eBay, white plastic earings and bangle from a vintage market and some fluffy “slippers” for an afternoon of baking.

If you want to know a bit more about how I styled my hair and makeup for this shoot, I talk about this in my previous posts Frankie and Gerry’s Retro Studio Part 1 – Embracing My Inner Mad Men’s Joan Holloway with the Glamour Bunny Maggie Dress and Face-to-Face: Pin-up Makeup for Different Skin Types and Tones – Florence Flounce.

Wow, what a fun day at Frankie and Gerry’s this was indeed. And what sunning images darktechsupport managed to take! Stay tuned for further posts in this series from both Papow and I! And if any of you can recommend any other retro studios around the country we would be delighted to hear your views!

Sixties Style with Frock & Roll

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I know my blogging mainly focuses on the fashion of the forties and fifties but I also love a variety of other eras.

Finding true sixties pieces has always been tricky for me. Many styles are often short and very straight up and down – for me, they just don’t work on my figure. However, there are some gems out there and I’ve managed to find a few sixties dresses from Frock & Roll that fit me perfectly!

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I’ve previously posted about my love of Frock & Roll but it never ceases to be a treasure trove of affordable vintage clothing.

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I styled this dress simply with sandals and simple drop earrings. For hair, I went for more of a subtle bouffant. My make-up consisted of a nude lip and more graphic-lined eyes.

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I love the simplicity of this dress – it’s so effortless and easy to wear!

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If you’re ever in Reading, do hop in to Frock & Roll and have a proper mooch. You never know what you might find!

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Reverse Bucket List 2016 – Florence Flounce

Well hello all…and a very happy new year! Over the last few months Cacao Papow has been doing a marvellous job taking care of the blog, but I am happy to say Flo is back! And what better a way to ease myself back in our blog and into 2017 than with a post on my 2016 reverse bucket list?

The last few months of 2016 were pretty manic for me, and hence I took a step back from the blog for a while. But rest assured, 2016 was still jam-packed with vintage loveliness for me…as you will see from my reverse bucket list! This is something that I have been doing for a few years now, and I have kept it to myself for the most part but it’s a great way to look back at the end of the year and smile at all of the things that you have achieved and all of the places you have visited. The things that were once on your bucket list and have now moved places to the “Reverse Bucket List”. The way I look at it is this: why stress over new years resolutions, making yourself feel down at what you should have been doing differently last year, feel positive about all that you have accomplished! And more importantly…start planning the following year, what will you tick off of your bucket list next?

So here are just a few of the things that appear on my reverse bucket list for 2016 that make me smile every time I back over the year:

  1. The Lipstick and Curls Makeup Academy – having attended the hair academy in 2016 this was an absolute must for 2016.
  2. Learning the art of cross stitch – massive shout out to my old work pal Lucy here for teaching me this art. I have found strangely addictive, but also a therapeutic way of winding down of an evening.
  3. The Pinup Academy makeover and shoot – having attending a Pinup Academy workshop back in 2015, Papow and I simply had to go back for more.
  4. Theatre – one look at my bucket list and anyone would be able to tell I am an absolute sucker for the theatre. In 2016 I managed to tick of a few shows that I have dreamt of seeing for many years. My favourites? The Bodyguard, Thriller Live and Dirty Dancing.
  5. Gigs – Seeing Muse and the Red Hot Chili Peppers win 2016 was simply amazing.
  6. Health – Following surgery at the start of 2016 I am honestly feeling better than I have in years. I have a congenital condition which has its ups and downs. I would never have guessed it at the time but for the last 10 months I have been feeling like a total goddess.
  7. Improving my culinary skills – on the back of my new-found health, and on the suggestion of one of my oldest friends, I decided to begin a journey into improving my skills in the kitchen and became a bit of a clean eater. Up until this point I could only be proud of my cupcakes! In 2016 I threw myself into the kitchen, drawing inspiration from the likes of Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw. I think those who know me well will safely agree with me that my transformation is quite unbelievable.
  8. New Job – with a new lease of life it was time to think more about what I wanted in life. I was by no means unhappy in my current role as a community pharmacist, however I am a self-confessed geek, I missed studying, and I needed a new challenge. In addition having spent so long in and out of hospital myself over the years I had always wanted to try my hand at a hospital based pharmacist position. And so…2016 was the year I made this leap!
  9. Henley Regatta – Pimms, sunshine, Vivien of Holloway dresses oh and the rowers…What more could I wish for on a fine summer’s day?
  10. Events organised by The British Belles – The Pinup Picnic in the Park/bar and I’m Dreaming of a Tiki Christmas were some of my favourite events of the year…and bumping into none other that Miss Victory Violet herself was the icing on the cake for.
  11. Frankie and Gerry’s Retro Studio – Papow’s birthday present that I managed to wiggle my way in on…a whole day raiding the vintage sets and wardrobes in this delightful studio in Newcastle was an absolute dream come true.
  12. Meeting Diablo Rose – Having met Lindsey Le Keux in Birmingham in the past, 2016 was definitely the year to meet her sister. Diablo worked her magic on our hair and makeup and the results from the shoot were simply outstanding. …stay tuned for these!
  13. Meet Cherry Dollface – Another hair and makeup goal accomplished in 2016, and what a woman Cherry is!
  14. Fashioning a Reign Exhibition – Oh the beautiful dresses…I could only drool.
  15. Goodwood Revival – Such happy memories from this event that I have had on my bucket list for literally years, although it is such a huge event I feel a definitely need to go back again.
  16. Brian Cox – Geek alert…yes this had to be included here. Those that know me well know I am a complete science geek and all things Space and Sci-Fi interest the hell out of me. Having the chance to listen to this man speak for a few hours really changes one’s outlook on life. When you’re feeling down and like the world is against you…tune in to this guy. His words on the sheer size of us in comparison to the universe really puts things into perspective.

So get scribbling guys, start adding to your reverse bucket lists now. Whether they be vintage-themed or not, just HAVE SOME FUN and I promise you that come the end of 2017 you will feel a great sence of achievement!

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Lessons In Wardrobe Management

Well, it been over a year since we started our blog. It’s given Flo and I a lot of worthwhile experiences and friendships. However, there is a dark side to this blogging malarkey…

I definitely have some kind of addiction to clothes shopping. I love the buzz of finding gems – the thrill of the chase. It doesn’t matter if I’m on my own or with friends and family, I cannot help myself. Starting the blog seemed to remove the part of my brain that asked the question, ‘Do you need that?’. Now, every purchase could be justified with, ‘It’s for the blog’. What’s worse is that it wouldn’t just be me saying it: my mum, my sister, my husband and my friends have all uttered those terrible words at some point.

I’ve never been in debt or dipped into my overdraft but my spending started to worry me at the end of 2016. I used to be a serious comfort eater in my teens – I’d eat excessively to celebrate great moments and I’d also binge to drown my sorrows. I went through the great joy of munching to feeling stuffed, nauseous and guilty afterwards. I managed to work on this at uni and it isn’t an issue any more. Towards the end of last year, I began to realise that my shopping was following a similar cycle of euphoria and guilt. Neither my eating nor my shopping hurt anyone, I was still healthy, working and in the black. The issue with both of these behaviours was that neither made me happy. I had to make a change – I’d done it before and I could do it again!

I made myself three promises:

  • Buy less and do more
  • Make your wardrobe more user-friendly
  • Wear more of your clothes

With these promises in mind, I got to work on my clothes. First of all, I removed anything very old or overly worn. I then took out anything that really didn’t fit or that I didn’t actually like (tastes change a fair bit over ten years). I split these into a pile for selling and a pile for charity.

Once all that was done, I gathered all the clothing that had been strewn around our flat. This is where I apologise to my better half for turning our entire flat into my walk-in wardrobe. I had things hanging on various doors, draped over chairs and in piles on the floor. It was amazing to see how much space all my stuff had taken up.

The final step was organizing what I had. Here’s what it all looks like now.

The Big Rail

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We bought another rail to go in the study so that I could actually move my clothes around. Before we got it, my clothes were so jam-packed that I could barely see what I had. This rail is for all of my reproduction and high street dresses. I arranged them by brand because it feels right for me.

The Little Rail

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This was actually my husband’s idea and I’m so glad he came up with it. All my skirts were previously crammed into our wardrobe but now I can easily see what I have and pick them out.

The Wardrobe

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This contains my true vintage dresses, my jumpers, my handbags and my belts.

The Cupboard

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Anything denim goes in here. I also store my gym gear and fluffy PJs in here too.

The Under-Bed Boxes

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Box 1 contains t-shirts, casual shirts and vests. Box 2 contains slash-neck tops, long-sleeve tops and smart shirts. Box 3 contains PJs and cardigans.

The Back Of The Door

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I store all of my coats here – I could easily have another rail for coats and jackets though.

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We also replaced all my hangers to thin velvet ones to maximise space and keep things neat. I’m also making sure I put my things away as soon as I’ve got changes so I don’t end up having to sort through piles of clothes at the end of each week.

There you have it! I know that this isn’t a cure-all and that I’ll still buy things but now that I can see what I have, I can use and appreciate more of my wardrobe.

How do you organise your wardrobe? What works well for you? Do let us know!

The Dress That Has It All with Collectif Clothing

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My goodness it has been one chilly winter! When the weather turns that bit colder, I often panic about the options I have in my wardrobe. Usually I end up with a lovely dress or skirt swamped by a massive jumper or cardigan. After a little pre-Christmas shopping trip, I have the solution to my winter woes!

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Meet the Collectif Vintage Ruby Sherwood Check Hooded Swing Dress’ – the dress that has it all. As described by Collectif:

She has a full swing skirt, long sleeves, and sleek velvet trims on the hood, pocket, and cuffs, with matching velvet covered buttons.

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I feel the cold SO much so the sleeves on this dress are a huge plus and the velvet makes them feel quite luxurious. There’s also enough space for me a slip a thermal or a long-sleeve top underneath should I need it.

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Pockets make it so much easier for me to fall for a dress and these pockets are proper! I can easily carry my phone, cards and some make-up in one. It makes me very happy when beautiful clothes are also practical.

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As many of you know, I take a fair amount of time faffing with my hair. In winter, wind and rain are my mortal enemies – I always have to keep a scarf or umbrella on hand. Thankfully, this dress has a hood which looks very elegant with its velvet-lining.

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The check-pattern also lends itself to being paired with lots of different colours. For this outfit, I teamed it with an old brown coat and boots but I’d love to bring out more of the burgundy of forest green in future looks.

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Well, now you know why I think this dress has everything. I hope Collectif produce this style in block colours and different patterns too – they have it in a red check too.

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Thank you to Sue Phelps Photography for yet another stunning set of images – you transformed a park near Wokingham into an enchanted forest!

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