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!

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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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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My Mop and My Mug

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Our bodies are affected by hormones, genetics, the environment, stress, diet, drinking etc. Products  and routines work differently for everyone – what might work for one person, might not work for another. There is no ‘cure all’, this is just what works for me.

Anxiety and stress have the greatest impact on my hair and face – not to mention my general mental and physical health. In my youth, I suffered from break-outs but as I got older, this changed. During periods of stress, I have had bright white patches on my face, huge spots, dryness or major oiliness too. When I’m anxious, my hair can thin, my scalp can become so dry or get overly greasy. It’s unpredictable (sometimes new problems crop up too) and incredibly aggravating.

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Despite these moments, I think I’ve found some products and a routine that work for me most of the time. I do have spots, scars, wrinkles and so on but then again, everyone does! Click on the links to check out the products.

Hair

My hair has never been dyed, chemically-straightened or permed.

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When I was younger, I had insanely greasy hair – I had to wash it every day! At the end of 2014, I started setting my hair more (read my setting post here) and I read up on the effects of over-washing, so I made a decision to wash my hair less. After a week or two of pretty grim-looking locks, I got used to washing my hair only once a week. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made – I use much less product, my hair is thicker, softer and shinier too. I wet-set my hair more often than not now and I think the lack of heat on my hair has made a difference as well.

Products I use:

  • Coconut oil – I use this as  a mask before I wash my hair once a month. It’s usually best if you wrap your hair and leave it overnight.
  • Dr Organic Tea Tree shampoo – My scalp is really sensitive and after seeing my doctor, I looked for a shampoo that was SLS-free. Although it foams less than your average shampoo, it leaves my hair feeling clean.
  • Dr Organic Tea Tree conditioner – I massage this into my scalp as it’s not a heavy conditioner. I’ll leave it in my hair for as long as possible.
  • Avocado Co-Wash – I use this with my conditioner but I use it on the ends of my hair as it is a much richer conditioner. Again I’ll leave it on for as long as possible, rinsing out my hair first with hot water and finally with a blast of cold water.
  • Tangle Teezer – To make sure everything is well-distributed through my hair, I brush it through a few times.
  • Hair Custard – Whether I’m setting my hair or not, after I towel-dry my hair I always run a little of this through my hair as a leave-in conditioner.
  • Tresemmé Thermal Spray – If I’m using any form of heat on my hair, I always use a liberal amount of thermal spray.

Altogether, it looks like a bit of a long process but it’s only once a week and takes around half an hour.

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Face

At most, I wear a full-face of make-up twice a week. I am often make-up free or I use a little powder and lipstick.

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I have combination-oily skin which means I need to use products that are both mattifying and moisturising. When I started a skin routine as a teenager, I used quite harsh, drying products on my skin. My skin wasn’t getting any better so a friend suggested using more natural products. For over a year I’ve been using gentler products – I can see and feel a real difference.

Products I use:

  • Don’t Look At Me face mask – I use this once or twice a week before a shower. It makes me skin feel so clean.
  • Herbalism – This is my daily face wash/cleanser.
  • Let The Good Times Roll cleanser – I use this once or twice a week in the evenings as it’s more moisturising than Herbalism.
  • Simple Micellar Water – I started using this after my friend Alisha recommended it to me. I use it after I was my face and I feel like it takes off any leftover dirt or make-up.
  • Enzymion – I use this as my nightly moisturiser as it leaves my skin quite greasy.
  • Moisture Surge – I use this in the morning straight after I’ve used the Micellar Water.
  • Vitamin E Emulsion – I use this on top of the Moisture Surge as it contains SPF30. Although I know I’m less likely to burn, I also know how damaging the sun can be. This is the only SPF I’ve tried that isn’t too heavy or greasy.

Again, it seems like a lot but all my products last for quite a while – I don’t use much. I’ve also had to learn to touch my face less, which has had a positive effect on the state of my skin.

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As I’ve said previously, this is what works best for me but there is no magic formula – this may all change in five years’ time!

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What works well for you? Which factors affect you most? If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you to @darktechsupport for taking these bare-faced photos of me!

Nautical Coat Treasure

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Sometimes when you go shopping, you’re not actually looking for a particular item. Sometimes something catches your eye. Sometimes you put something on and it looks pretty darn fabulous.

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This happened last year when I met up with a few vintage lovers in Hungerford. I walked into a vintage fair with my better half and this coat stared at me from the other side of the room. With a little encouragement, I tried it on and I just loved it. Then, my brain started talking to me.

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Although it may not seem like it, I mentally debate a lot of my clothing purchases. Did I need another coat? What would I wear it with? Was it practical? How often would I wear it? With all this buzzing around my head, I decided to take a step back and leave the coat.

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Over the next month, I ummed and ahhed over this thing; I looked for it on eBay and kept going over pros and cons with my husband. Thankfully, the coat was not out of reach – the small business at the vintage fair was also online AND the coat was still available!

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Izzy of Isabel’s Retro and Vintage Clothing was so helpful and incredibly patient with me. I asked tons of questions, finally biting the bullet and buying the coat. She waited for my PayPal payment and kindly dropped it of at my mother-in-law’s house as it was near hers. Thank you Izzy – you were fab!

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The Keira Nautical Swing Coat is actually a Collectif piece, which became unavailable during their recent sale and it wasn’t available when I was ordering from Izzy.

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As described by Collectif,

The Keria Nautical Swing Coat is such a dream and perfect for wrapping up in gorgeous sailor inspired style this season! This swishy swing coat style features striking white contrast stripe details to the cuffs and sailor collar and a lovely belt to cinch your waist in.

Fit is true to size.

I fall between a 12 and a 14 in Collectif’s sizing. As I tried the 14 on and it fit well, that’s what I went for. The coat is seriously warm and heavy enough for winter.

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You can easily sling this over any outfit. For this blog post, I wore it with a swing skirt and I’m looking forward to trying it with my swing trousers.

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What’s your favourite winter coat? What do you like to wear it with?

Thanks as always to @darktechsupport for his epic photography skills – even if it was freezing!