About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

Click on Products to browse hand-crafted scarves, bags, and jewelry from India for sale.

From my collection to yours: Check out Joyatri on Etsy shop. (Shop on vacation until Aug. 19, 2015)


 

Please do leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by! I love hearing from you.

Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

Why Vegan?

 


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Tuesday
Feb102015

Snapshot of '75

Here in the Boston area, we’ve had so much snow lately (over 5 feet this winter), we now have our own Yeti (and he’s vegan!).

That's not the Yeti, just a poor soul digging their car out. The snowbanks are reaching about 7 feet.Being snowed in, I’ve had time to sort through lots of old papers and ephemera (no, I’m not an old newspaper kind of hoarder, just a vintage clothing hoarder). I came across a section of the May 27, 1975 issue of the weekly alternative newspaper The Boston Phoenix, given to me by a friend living in Boston in that decade (I was still in high school in 1975).

Here’s a select snapshot of 1975.

My T-Shirt, Harvard Square, CambridgeGraphic/cartoon t-shirts.

The Cambridge Shop, Harvard Square, CambridgeChris Craft sneakers (which I don’t remember), Jacques Cohen espadrilles and Danskin leotards (which I did wear).

Waterbeds (I had one in college)

Pennsylvania Co., Commonwealth Ave. Boston and The Garage, Harvard Square, CambridgeUsed jeans, corduroys and cut-offs

Sam’s Book Store, 726 Commonwealth Ave. BostonCartoon-type ads by underground/college newspaper comix artist Bruce Walthers

Kalsø Earth Shoes, locations throughout MassachusettsIn high school, I made a pilgrimage to the Amherst location to buy Earth shoes and boots.

Atlantis Sound, Harvard Square, Cambridge and other locationsStereo equipment. I used left-over college scholarship funds to buy my first stereo system – tuner, speakers (both which I had for decades) and turntable (which I am using as I write this). It was a big deal, going into a special sound room to compare different components and spending about 5-6 times what I was paying in monthly rent for my shared apartment.

’75 New England Blues Festival That’s quite a line up!

Feminist calendar

Article on a new publication, Communes, Law and Commonsense: A Legal Handbook for Communities, by Lee Goldstein. “The purpose of this book is to raise people’s consciousness, to make them aware of their neighbors and neighborhoods. You just can’t go out and start a commune. You have to be politically aware of what that decision involves. It’s clear that communes are seen as a political threat, but to what extent can the state enforce the nuclear family?”

This not-very-flattering (my right hand is in my pocket, hence the weird bulge) photo was taken at my high school “Kid Party”--a costume party where many people dressed up as "kids"--hence the pigtails and painted-on freckles). Although taken two years later than the ads above, you can see the graphic t-shirt (it was hot pink wiht a black heart), scuffed-up Earth shoes and cut-off shorts, all of which I’d had since 1975 or earlier.

Do any of these ads bring back memories for you?

I love the hand-drawn quality of ads in local papers in the 1970s and even have a scrapbook somewhere of some ads I saved. Will post when I find it.

Sunday
Jan112015

It's hard to say goodbye

I leave London tomorrow. Bunhill Fields seemed a suitable somber location to take my last outfit photo of this visit.

Greek Fisherman’s cap, purchased in London in the 1990s. Handknit cardigan, from Goodwill thrift store. Tie dye scarf purchased from a street vendor in Rome in the 1990s. H & M denim skirt, purchased in the 1990s. Tights, from Goodwill thrift store. Boots, purchased at Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Bag painted by me.Today was a quick visit to Spitalfields stopping at Bunhill Fields on the way. This site was used as the cemetery for the City of London from 1665 to 1854. And where one of my favorite artists, William Blake, is buried.

William Blake’s watercolor etching, The Ancient of Days in Europe a Prophecy copy D from the British Museum. Originally published in 1794 (later copies were made by Blake).Yesterday, the City of London organized a “Give and Take” day for people to give unwanted items and take whatever they want. We dropped off our stuff in the morning, the organizers set up, and we queued up in the afternoon for entrance. After checking for proof of city residency, the public was allowed in.

The event should have been called “give and grab” as it was a mad dash in and a crazy free-for-all as people started stuffing clothes, housewares and all manner of things into the bags they had brought along. A scan of the clothes revealed nothing of interest, then I quickly made my way to the jewelry, decorative tchotchkes, and books.

I was very surprised not to see any vintage but later learned the reason why. My boyfriend chatted with the organizers and learned that the charity shop TRAID, which sells vintage, had been allowed in early to take their pick. Same with a charity bookshop and the books. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m quite happy with my takings:

A vintage Tchibo tea tin, two Indian scarves and assorted buttons.

Scraps of very expensive silk velvets, linens, jersey and silk to be used for craft projects.Detail of fabric.Detail of fabric.Detail of fabric. The Encyclopedia of Fashion, a set of Margaret Rutherford/Miss Marple dvds, a Morrissey cd and The Smiths cd.A jar of assorted jewelry bits and a box of big glass beads. I passed up some other desirable items as I already knew I wouldn’t be able to get all of these things into my suitcase. Speaking of which, I must get packing.

Linking up to Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday and Spy Girl's Pantone Party. Although I often wear this year's Pantone color, Marsala, I'm thinking today's outfit is a combination of Mimosa, Tangerine Tango and Emerald.

Friday
Jan092015

Nuts in May

After being cooped up in the flat with a nasty cold, my boyfriend and I decided to get into nature and combine a visit to the Watts Chapel and Gallery in Compton, Surrey, with a walk along the North Downs of the Surrey Heathlands.

A pretty start to the walk.With the Time Out Country Walks, Vol. 2 guidebook in hand, it was a short train ride to Guildford.

With my boyfriend striding along down the trail, and me dawdling yards behind, looking for ‘fairy doors’ and peering into rabbit burrows, I had visions of Keith from the 1975 Mike Leigh film, "Nuts in May" (link to film below), bellowing “Come along, Candice Marie” to his straggling wife who, like me, delights in small natural wonders.

Natural bark formation or fairy door? All of the woodland creatures must have been hibernating since we didn't see a single one.The Watts Chapel and Gallery is along the way.

Interior of Watts Gallery. The Watts Gallery opened in 1904 to display the works of the Victorian painter, philanthropist and social reformer G. F. Watts (1817-1904). The Gallery houses paintings, sculpture, drawings, and memorabilia and was built near the winter home of Watts and his wife Mary (1849-1938), also an artist.

The much-reproduced "Hope" of 1886

The original, gigantic plaster model of Lord Alfred Tennyson (and his dog) by G. F. Watts. The War of the Mushrooms, watercolor by Elena Polenova ©Vasily Polenov Fine Art Museum and Fine Art and National Park There was an exhibition of the Russian Arts & Crafts artist and designer Elena Polenova, whose fairy-tale paintings and folkloric furniture I had never seen before.

Down the road is the Watts Cemetery Chapel. It is a little gem with an odd combination of Byzantine, Art Nouveau and Celtic elements. Around 1900, Mary Watts founded The Potters’ Arts Guild in Compton. Prior to that, she held Terracotta Home Arts Classes for local villagers in Compoton. Following her designs, they created the reliefs for the Chapel.

Metalwork on doors by George Tunstal Redmayne (1840-1912).The interior is encrusted with angels on a background of sinuous vines and trees. I couldn’t photograph the Chapel to do it justice, but you can watch a 2-minute video to see the incredible detail.

We didn’t have time to explore the cemetery around the chapel. I would have loved to see more of the tombstones, like this one, made by the Compton pottery.

We had to hurry if we didn’t want to be finding our way in the dark. Fortunately the last leg of the trail was straightforward.

By then, it was 4pm and the moon was already shining in the sky (and being reflected in the canal). At the end of the trail, we sat at a picnic table in the dark and ate our better-late-than-never packed lunch before catching the train home.

It was great to learn more about G. F. Watts. He commissioned a memorial to everyday men and women who had lost their lives helping others.

The memorial, built in 1900, is located in Postman’s Park, just down the street from my boyfriend’s flat.

Doulton tile panels tell tragic tales of Victorian heros and heroines.

Not great quality, but you can watch the entire "Nuts in May" film on YouTube. It was also on UK television recently.

Monday
Dec292014

Groupie (sort of)

I showed a "Groupie" poster in my last post and, in November, I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience of following one of my favorite artists (and object of my teenage obsession) across Europe.

For my birthday, my thoughtful boyfriend planned a trip to Europe to see Yusuf/Cat Stevens (he goes by both or either name now) in concert twice (Paris and Berlin) and Morrissey once (Antwerp). Through my pleading Somehow, we ended up seeing Cat Stevens a third time in Dusseldorf and Morrissey again in London.

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Berlin, November 2014I saw Cat Stevens in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1976, and again in Brussels in 2010. He’s released a new blues and R & B album, and I admire him for going back to his roots and recording tunes that got him into music in the 1960s, since so many musical artists who were big in that period are now doing ‘safe’ pop music.

There were only slight variations in the playlists of the three concerts—all combined his older music (going back to 1966 with “I Love My Dog”) with a good number of his new songs. Cat was out of the limelight, not touring or recording (or smoking) for decades, and I think his voice and performance were all the better for it. He looked like he was having a blast, more so than in the 70s. His voice is unchanged (which you can’t say for others of his generation, such as Bob Dylan). It still has that deep caramel-y quality with those lovely growls (I'm thinking of my favorite song “Sitting”). Alun Davies, his talented, long-time guitarist accompanied him for the entire European and North American tour. The rest of the band were very tight and seemed to be having a good time, too.

Yusuf/Cat Stevens concert stage set, Berlin, November 2014 The stage set at each venue looked like an abandoned train station (i.e. waiting for the Peace Train).

1970s handkerchief dress and new-ish hat purchased at Goodwill. 1970s moon face, 1930s faceted glass, and metal Indian necklaces. The seed bead necklace and wooden bead bracelet I made in the early 1970s. Vintage and Indian bangles. 1970s Pakistani bag, purchased on eBay. I had bought this dress at my local charity shop a couple years ago in spite of the fact that I couldn’t zip it up and still breathe with ease. When my boyfriend bought our concert tickets on September 5, I vowed that in the ensuing 9 weeks, I’d lose enough weight to fit into it for the Paris concert. And I did.

Tea after the concertDetail of rayon handkerchief dressHere's a nearly identical one (for substantially more than what I paid).

There's that hat, bag and 1970s moon face pendant again. 1970s The Villager vest from Goodwill. Tunic and leggings from Goodwill. Vintage star pin purchased on eBay.Vintage star pin with colored glass cabochons, purchased on eBay.

Another 1970s velvet Pakistani bag that I’ve added to my collection.

In addition to hearing the song “Sitting” live three times, a highlight was a second encore in Paris in which Cat performed the heart-felt song, “Trouble.”

Here's an odd coincidence--I only found out a couple years after we met that my boyfriend, according to his mother, is distantly related to Cat Stevens’ spouse.

Linking up to Visible Monday, hosted by the lovely Patti of Not Dead Yet Style, and to Judith's Hat Attack #18.

Wednesday
Dec242014

Fair-y tales

Contrary to my last couple of posts, this visit to London hasn’t been all about silent films. There have been vintage fair to go to.

The North London Vintage Fair marked the opening of the Hornsey Town Hall in the Crouch End area of north London. The 1935 Modernist building that has been closed for years (but used as a film and tv location) is now being redeveloped as an arts center. I only saw the hallways that housed the vintage fair, but I’ve read that the rooms still have their original furnishings and details.

I've not seen the 'Lori ann' label before. I drooled over a medieval/peasant maxi dress offered by Lady Jane’s Vintage Bandwagon.

Lady Jane’s also offered a mind-blowing selection of original posters.

 

And I was photographed by stylist Tamara Cincik, also selling vintage clothing and other items.

The next day was the Bethnal Green Affordable Vintage Fair. I’m finding that I gravitate to the same styles of vintage clothes. So, although Bottle Green Vintage had a 1970s olive green dress that fit me perfectly, I didn’t buy it. It was just too similar to things I already own. I guess it’s time to either stop acquiring or get rid of things I already have. Do you find that your clothes are all starting to look alike?

The label on the dress is 'Wendy.'I had to snap a pic of the adorable dress and vest outfit worn by Bottle Green's proprietor, Zoe. I love A-line skirts and puffy sleeves.

Photo by Hollie of H.E.R. VintageI was wearing the 1970s St. Michael’s faux-patchwork velveteen skirt (that I bought on my Second to None excursion with Vix and Annie last year) when Hollie of H.E.R. Vintage took my photo for her “best dressed ladies of 2014” list. 

No way will I be able to cart all of these big, heavy books home. I bought nothing at the vintage fairs but scored some great fashion reference books--and one on the Green Man--at the local library, each just £1 or 2. ($1.50 – 3.00).

Pretty low-key Christmas festivities going on here. We’ve got vegan panettone purchased at Amico Bio, a Harold and Maude DVD to watch, and a decorated dragon tree (with some token gifts; mine purchased at charity shops). Tomorrow, it’s a veganized version of Nigel Slater’s vegetarian Christmas dinner

Happy holidays to you and yours!

 

Monday
Dec152014

Party like it's 1929

To continue with the “early cinema” theme of the last post—my boyfriend hired the Cinema Museum in London for his 50th birthday party. We got the food from Tibits, silent films were screened and a grand time was had by all.

The suggested attire was to reflect early cinema so I opted for an early-to-mid-1920s look with a sleeveless shift dress with a drop-waist and nearly-to-the-ankles length.

Oops, my slip is too short.Of course, I found it at my local thrift store (for $7.99). You can’t really see in the photo, but it has sequin trim around the neckline and hanging down in two loops at the dropped waist.

I’ve posted about the Cinema Museum before. It’s housed in what was the administrative building of the Victorian workhouse in which Charlie Chaplin spent part of his boyhood (hence the homage to Charlie throughout).

I kept the jewelry minimal: a Victorian bracelet and early 20th-century necklace I’ve owned for decades.

These Bobbi Blu shoes from the thrift store have a vintage feel and were just $4.

One of the short films shown at the party was this early animation combined with live action film: Out of the Inkwell: Jumping Beans produced by Max Fleischer in 1922.

Michelle Nicole West/New York dress from Goodwill. Early 20th-century faceted glass bead necklace and Victorian enamelled metal and pearl bracelet, both owned for decades. Bobbi Blu shoes from Boomerang.

Since every blog post is better with a cat, here’s the neighborhood kitty, who has a home and a family, but likes to hang out at the Cinema museum.

I'm also joining in the party over on Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Sunday
Dec072014

Biograph girl

My boyfriend is a HUGE silent film buff. So for his birthday, I made him another silent film-themed t-shirt, using a thrifted t-shirt ($1.99), a stencil made from freezer paper and Jacquard Textile Colors.

He liked the logo of the Biograph Studios, a company that produced silent films in the early 20th century. So I painted it in silver paint on a black t-shirt. To show my support for his hobby, for myself, I painted a t-shirt inspired by a poster for a 1980 British musical, called 'Biograph Girl,' about the same Studio.

My t-shirt.

His t-shirt.

Past t-shirts: Louise Brooks (and a homemade tea cosy); ‘PH5’ pendant lamp designed by Danish architect Poul Henningsen (1958); stars around a neckline on my t-shirt; and Cthulhu. I’m sure I could get more precise images with the use of technology, but I’m a low-tech kinda crafter.

Other past painting projects: black vinyl bag with cosmic pattern.

'Sweet dreams' home-made cotton broadcloth pajama bottoms with painted moons and stars.

You may have seen these before, but here's a selection of shoes I’ve painted.

Has anyone else used textile paints for t-shirts, shoes, or other clothing?

Tuesday
Nov112014

It was a new day yesterday

But it’s an old day now.

Has it really been almost a year that I temporarily departed from the blogosphere? I’m sure others have been there--sometimes life just gets too cluttered and something’s got to give.

I’m in London now and have a bit more time, so am jumping back online with an outfit I wore a few weeks ago.

1973 cape from Goodwill. Greek fisherman’s cap purchased new in early 1990s in London. Fleur boots from Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. 1970s stars and stripes vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy. Not-shown-before 1970s psychedelic print curtains from Family Thrift, just $3 for the pair!

As long as I have closet space, I’ll keep buying myself capes at the thrift store. This plaid canvas one has cool faux-suede strap-and-buckle closures in front and lacing on the shoulders.

 

Earlier in the day when I also wore a 1960s nautical theme scarf.There’s no manufacturer’s name on the label in the cape, just an RN number. So I checked the Federal Trade Commission’s RN database. It was registered to “Lish Enterprises.” Some creative searching turned up this photo from the Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, January 21, 1973. Since I don’t pay for access to the newspaper archive service, I could only grab a small photo.

Caption for 2nd image from the right reads, “A fisherman's hat comes with a cape of matching multicolored plaid. Of water repellent canvas, by Lish Enterprises.”My cape has a hood, so may be slightly different from the one pictured here, which came with a matching hat. More searching turned up other Lish Enterprises hats in ads from 1972-73. It looks like the company was based in New York, with a factory in Massachusetts.

“A new year, a new you” editorial. Coat by New York Mackintosh. Scarf by Glentex. Bag by Jaclyn. Photo by Joseph Santoro. Seventeen magazine, January 1971.The bag is a slightly different style from this one with butterflies. I had posted this image in a Facebook album more than a year ago, and was thrilled to find the bag with stars (one of my favorite motifs) when browsing on Etsy. 

Earlier this year:

Anne and I in similar colors and footwear at Veggie Galaxy, Cambridge. My outfit: 1970s hat and bag purchased on Etsy. Everything else thrifted from Goodwill. Thrifted shoes painted by me.I met the talented Anne of Spy Girl when she was making her U.S. road trip in the spring. She made my outfit look 10 times better in her sketch here.

Since I am now obsessed with Jethro Tull...

Belatedly joining Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style.
In honor of TRAID's Secondhand First week (Nov. 17 - 23), Ceri of Ethical Fashion Bloggers will be highlighting bloggers in their finest secondhand garb. I'll be traveling so won't be able to take advantage of the great events TRAID has lined up or be able to participate fully. But, every week is 'secondhand first" for me.

Sunday
Jan122014

Ragtime blues

Vintage hat, Frocktasia. 1970s The Villager velvet vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Late 1970s dress by Ragtime, thrifted, Goodwill. Fleur boots by Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Bangles purchased in India.

Before I went on holiday in mid-December, I was wearing the hat I bought from Frocktasia nearly every day. I was very bummed when I accidently left it in the taxi from the airport on our arrival in Lisbon. To make matters worse--I was reminded of it when my boyfriend bought this vintage magazine at the Feira da Ladra (flea market) the next day. ABC Revísta Portuguesa magazine, May 11, 1922. Cover illustration by Emmérico Hartwich Nunes (1888-1968). Signed 'E.H. Nunes/1922.

I love the intersecting geometric shapes and simple color palette of this cover.

Another hat-centric illustration from this magazine. I can't make out the signature.

Illustrations of gloves, bags and shoes.

A. also picked up this issue of the same magazine at the flea market.

ABC Revísta Portuguesa magazine, November 3, 1921. Cover illustration by Jorge Barradas (1894-1971). Signed 'Jorge Barradas/1921.

I don't think this illustration is as successful of some of Barradas's other magazine covers but I like the emphasis on the Chinese floral coat with its feathered shawl. (This Barradas illustration for the same magazine, also from 1921 uses the same colors and angle but has a much more pleasing composition.)

Jorge Barradas was a painter, illustrator and ceramic artist. I only just realized that shortly after buying this magazine, A. and I saw a tile panel by Barradas at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon.

The Magi. 1945, by Jorge Barradas, produced by Fábrica Cerâmica Viúva Lamego. Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon.A. bought me this ceramic toadstool magnet at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon. Unfortunately, I can't decipher the maker's signature on the back.

In October, I showed a vintage dress I found at Boomerang and mentioned that I hadn't heard of its label, Ragtime. Just a couple days after that post, I found another Ragtime dress, this time at Goodwill.

In October, I showed a vintage dress I found at Boomerang and mentioned that I hadn't heard of its label, Ragtime. Just a couple days after that post, I found another Ragtime dress, this time at Goodwill. Research on the label didn't turn up anything, but from other dresses with this label I found online, it appears to have been going in the mid- to late-1970s and early 1980s. This dress is a little big, hence the waistcoat in the first photo.

Joining the Visible Monday get-together at Not Dead Yet Style.

P.S. When I think of 'ragtime' I always think of a Leon Redbone album I listened to over and over again in the late 1970s.

Sunday
Dec292013

A happy holiday

It seems like ages ago now, but in mid-December, A. and I spent 10 days in Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona.

Psychedelic interior of Juicy Jones café, BarcelonaHere are the highlights:

Tiles

Left to right, top to bottom: Tiled barbershop facade (now a restaurant), Madrid. Store facade, Lisbon. Art Nouveau tiles on store facade, Barcelona. Art Nouveau tiles by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro at the, National Tile Museum, Lisbon. 17th c. Portuguese tile panel of Bacchus in the National Tile Museum, Lisbon.Art

I finally saw much-loved works of art that I'd only ever seen pictures of: Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, Rogier van der Weyden's The Descent from the Cross, Albrecht Dürer's Self-Portrait and Fra Angelico's The Annunciation. And I discovered new works to love at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon and the museums in Madrid.

The Sultan's Horses, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, 1912; The Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne-Jones, and painting for a clothing store by José de Almada Negreiros, 1913. Portrait of a Woman, Hans Baldung Grien, 1530. Richard Lindner, Thank You, 1971. 

Food

All three cities, especially Barcelona, were extremely vegan-friendly. We ate very well.

Vegan burger plate, The Green Room, Lisbon. Lasagna, Teresa Carles Cocina Vegetariana restaurant, Barcelona. Eggplant sandwich, Gopal Maxi burger, patatas bravas at Gopal, Barcelona. Avocado sandwich and tomato bread at Juicy Jones, Barcelona.And my sweet tooth was well-satisfied in Barcelona.

Doughnut and cinnamon bun at Gopal, Barcelona. Pumpkin-walnut cake at Biocenter, Barcelona. Lujuria Vegana gateau, Barcelona. 'Sweet Kryptonite' avocado/pistachio smoothie at Juicy Jones, Barcelona. Architecture

In Barcelona, we toured the Palau de la Música Catalana, built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (who also designed the interiors of our hotel). Every surface is covered in Art Nouveau decoration.

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona Park Güell, Basilica of La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, (‘La Pedrera’), and Palau Güell. All by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona.I was very impressed with all of the museums and architectural sites in Barcelona. The labels, audio-guides, overall interpretation, and contextual materials were extremely well done. Even the museum shops were filled with tempting, high-quality products.

This is a shot from a video at Casa Milà which depicted how Gaudí designed furniture, door handles and such to fit the human body. Here ghost-like figures in stripey pajamas relax on a two-seat bench.In front of the modern courtyard outside our room at Hotel España, Barcelona. Michael Kors top I've had since the 1990s. Thrifted contemporary plaid skirt. Thrifted tights.' Restricted' brand non-leather boots. Earrings and bangles purchased in India.

Outside the National Tile Museum, Lisbon. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket, thrifted. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted. Tights, thrifted. Fleur boots, Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Fringed scarf, thrifted. 1990s DKNY nylon bag, painted by me. Tote bag I made from a thrifted batik tablecloth.Joining Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday get-together as I was certainly visible on my holiday in my short skirt, gold tights and red boots. In Lisbon and Madrid, women my age conservatively dressed in camel, navy, and brown scowled at my legs. Thankfully, there was no scowling in Barcelona.

I leave you with this little guy.

Feral cat at ruins of Carmo Convent, Lisbon.

Monday
Dec022013

In the home of the brash, outrageous and free

I'm in the U.K visiting my boyfriend. It was a challenge packing two months worth of clothes suitable for a variable London winter into one suitcase and a carry-on bag. Here's a few of my outfits so far.

At the British Film Institute. Vintage hat, Frocktasia. Custo Barcelona top, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale. 1970s gypsy shawl, thrifted, Goodwill. DKNY bag, purchased in the 1990s and painted by me. Indian necklaces and bangles.
At the Cinema Museum, London. Hat, gift in 1984. 1970s ASA wool vest, thrifted. Fab India wool kurta, purchased in India. Leggings, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Silver and black scarf purchased in India.
At Royal Festival Hall. Greek fisherman's hat, purchased in London in the 1990s. 1970s The Villager velvet vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mustard leg 'o mutton t-shirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Mustard tights, thrifted, Goodwill. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill and painted by me. Necklace purchased in India. 1940s Bakelite brooch I've had for decades.
At the Barbican Design Market. Vintage hat, Frocktasia. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket. 1960s Styled by Sybil blouse, thrifted, Goodwill. Leggings, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale.
In the 10 days I've been in London so far, A. and I have seen four films and one exhibition. We've been to a design and crafts market and an antiques fair. I've also been to a book club/author event and a Zumba class. Still from the silent film, Flesh and the Devil (1926) with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

In addition to "Flesh and the Devil," we saw a charming romantic comedy from 1935 called “Car of Dreams.” (You can watch the entire film on YouTube here). And we went to a monthly silent-film event at the Cinema Museum. I saw this book in their little shop.

Cinema Uniforms: Sartorial Elegance at the Picture Palace by David TriggThe highlight was a 6-hour screening of the 1926 silent film, Napoleon, which was, and still is, a tour-de-force, of cinema. The members of the Royal Festival Hall Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor, Carl Davis, showed remarkable endurance. There were several intermissions, but still! 

Click for sourceWe saw Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House. I admired Blow's ability to turn herself into a work of art through fashion and accessories and I enjoyed seeing the incredible craftsmanship and inventiveness of the Philip Treacy hats and fashion by Alexander McQueen and others.

http://www.80trains.com/Now that I've read the book (which I highly recommend) and met the author, I need to go to the book's website and read Monisha Rajesh's blog.

Another highlight of my time so far was a blogger meet-up in Walsall. When I got off the train, it was easy to spot Vix and Annie who were beacons of color in a train station full of drably dressed people. First we went for a quick hot drink and exchange of gifts.

A pretty rainbow-colored butterfly necklace and packet of beads from Annie. From Vix, a green velvet coat, 70s striped jersey, and Liberty-print dress I had admired from the "suitcase of forgotten 70s fashion" seen on Vix's blog here

First stop was the vintage shop, Second to None. As soon as I entered the door my eyes were immediately drawn to the back of the store. Could it be? Yes, it was. A Marks & Spencer velvet skirt in a faux patchwork print.

Kelly of Grunge Queen has the matching jacket and Vix has this same skirt.

Not even waiting to go upstairs to the changing room I tried it on under my dress.

Vix attacking the rails with gusto. Annie bought this wonderfully slinky snakeskin-print maxi that looked amazing on her.Annie bought the most and Vix did quite well. I only bought the skirt and a blouse, but was quite happy with my finds.

With a medieval heraldic horse print, there was no way I could pass up this Chelsea Girl blouse.

Not bad at 50p each.We made the rounds of the chairty shops where I purchased four pairs of ribbed tights.

Lovely, fluffy chips all around.A Walsall blogger meet-up tradition is a trip to Weatherspoons where I witnessed the "Vix effect" of all eyes in the pub riveted by her. Ensconsed in a cozy corner, we spent several hours chatting and gorging on chips. Then, I caught the train from Walsall to Birmingham with Annie, then back to London.

Whew! Now after this monster post, I'm off to read Vix's account of the day.

Linking up to Patti's Visible Monday and Judith's Hat Attack.

Sunday
Nov172013

Everyone jump upon the peace train

The two biggest categories of clothing in my wardrobe are 'things I've bought in India' and 'vintage 1970s'. So what do I do when MarketPlace: Handwork of India, which offers high-quality clothing made in India, asks me to collaborate by styling one of their garments on my blog? I take it through the 'way-back' machine.

First with an early 1970s, Teaser-and-the-Firecat sort of vibe.

MarketPlace Manipur Tunic DressAs anyone who's been reading my blog knows, my interest in India has focused on textiles and animal issues. I spent much of my travels there visiting and buying from artisans and connecting with animal welfare organizations. I've always been keen on supporting artisans and the preservation of traditional crafts. So, when MarketPlace contacted me, I jumped at the chance to collaborate.

MarketPlace is a non-profit, fair trade organization that has provided economic opportunities for low-income women in India since 1986. I used to get their print catalog and enjoyed reading about and seeing the faces of some of the 480 artisans whose work was represented. The artisans are organized into 14 independent cooperatives. These cooperatives create an empowered space where women can develop leadership skills and acquire the tools and confidence to advocate for social change in their communities. They have tackled a number of public health and social issues, and are more committed to keeping their daughters in school to get a better education than many of them did as girls. Please do read more about MarketPlace's mission here.

I love the combination of the ikat print with the block-printed floral print on the Manipur Tunic Dress. The floral print is embellished with hand-worked embroidery and sequins. And you'all know, I'm a sucker for fabric-covered buttons. MarketPlace Manipur Tunic Dress. Hat purchased at a street market in Toronto in the 1990s. 1960s Indian scarf. Assortment of metal pins I've had since the 1970s. Bangles purchased in India. Le Fleur boots by Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. At barely 5 ft. 3 inches tall, I often have a problem with clothes being made for someone taller. But many of MarketPlace's styles come in petite sizes, so the length of this dress is perfect.

The Manipur Tunic Dress nudged me into the mid-1970s as well.

MarketPlace Manipur Tunic Dress. Israeli Tichel scarf, purchased new. Embroidered velvet bag, gift from Vix. Churidar (pants) purchased in India. Bangles purchased in India. Clogs, thrifted and painted metallic blue by me. Just last night, after I had already taken the photo above, I was browsing some vintage Vogue magazines online and came across this.

Editorial from Vogue U.K. September 1975Linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday, where Patti has her MarketPlace jacket beautifully styled. Also check out the stunning MarketPlace tunic dress on Val's blog, Late Blooming Sparkle.

I was given an item of clothing by MarketPlace: Handwork of India for free, but my review is entirely my own opinion. Sponsored posts are not my thing, but I was already a fan of this organization, so am happy to lend my support.

Oh, and thanks for the book recommendations from my last post.

Wednesday
Nov132013

A new coat and some good reads

It's turned quite cold here so I've been perusing the winter coats at the thrift store. In terms of having a hard time finding one that fits properly, winter coats are right up there with shoes and bathing suits for me. They always seem to be too big in the shoulders or made for someone taller. My recent foray at the thrift store turned up the best fitting coat I've ever owned.

I love the flattering A-line shape, the asymmetrical button closure and the general luxe look of it. And it's in brand new condition. The only issue is the fake fur collar, which is so voluminous I feel like my head is being swallowed up.

Vintage Jules Miller coat, thrifted, Goodwill, $18. 1930s silk scarf I've owned for decades.Velour hat dubbed “The Flemish Burgermeister” hat by my friend, purchased at a street market in London or Toronto (can't recall which) in the 1990s. Restricted brand non-leather boots. Gloves purchased new in the 1990s, Filene's Basement. My research show that this label was used from 1976 to 1982.For those interested in books set in the 1960s and 70s, I can recommend a few. If you're on goodreads, I've written a bit more about them there.

Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd, wife of George Harrison and, later, Eric Clapton. Not particularly well written but I enjoyed the insider's look at the London psychedelic scene, what people were wearing, where they shopped, the drugs they were taking and who they were sleeping with. I hadn't known about Friar Park, a sprawling Victorian Gothic mansion with 120 rooms and extensive grounds, that George Harrison bought and Pattie filled with Art Nouveau furnishings.

Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit by Catherine James. This memoir is a fun read. Catherine James's pluck and resourcefulness (and the kindness of a few caring individuals, including a young Bob Dylan) helped her escape from a childhood of neglect and abuse. In the 1960s, at the age of 16, she joined the rock-star tribe in London. Her strong desire to remain in control of her life is admirable, as is her positive outlook and humor.

Split: A Counterculture Childhood by Lisa Michaels. If you want to re-live petty concerns and awkwardness and confusion of youth, this is a good book to read. I liked it as a novel, but it wasn't really about a 'counterculture childhood' so as a memoir I found it lacking. I also recommend the film Good Ol' Freda. Definitely not a 'tell-all,' Freda is the epitome of respect and restraint in recounting her 11 years as secretary to The Beatles and the manager of their Fan Club. Even so, it's still a good story about an exciting time.

Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father by Alysia Abbott. This book is a personal memoir of growing up in the 1970s and 80s as the daughter of a widowed, openly gay father. Using her father's diaries, letters, and other primary sources, the author tells an affectionate, but honest, story of her unusual upbringing while providing a historical account of the vibrant culture of San Francisco in the 1970s and, in the following decade, of the devastating toll of AIDS.

The Involvement of Arnold Wechsler by John Alexander Graham. The groovy cover illustration prompted me to buy this book at the thrift store. A classics professor gets dragged into a mystery involving the disappearance of the granddaughter of the dean of his college. As a mystery it was dreadful, but I enjoyed the description of a fictional college town near Boston in 1969 and, of course, the clothing. For example, in addition to faculty attired in tweed jackets, the author describes the students at a college rally:

Variations in dress here were wide. Most had apparently strived for casualness. Denim work shirts and dungarees and lumbermen's jackets were common, so were army fatigues. There were also tie-dyed jeans, gypsy blouses, railroad pants, and a number of cowboy boots and hats. Many wore suede jackets or vests...Finally, there were a few dandies wearing much the same clothing except new-looking, cut to fit, and colored in blaring neon shades.

Any books set in the '60s and '70s you can recommend?

Thursday
Nov072013

Nothing's changed

With the constant clutter in my apartment making it impossible to take photos without moving furniture, I tried improvising a backdrop to put in front of the furniture. Not sure if it saves me any work/time taking outfit pics...

I found this wonderful 1970s maroon polyester double-knit cape with its own scarf at Boomerang last week. At 20 bucks, it was more than I usually pay for clothes. But it's in perfect condition and I was hankering after a new cape after I realized that one I had since the early 70s had mysteriously disappeared.

Here I am in 1974 with oversized wire-rimmed aviator glasses, chipmunk cheeks, wide leather watchband, Indian cotton gauze blouse, and hip-length hair. And the blue wool cape (it had a hood!) that I'm pining over. I remember wearing it with clunky knee-high Timberland boots to traverse the snowdrifts of my college campus, and feeling like Kristin Lavransdatter. (I strongly recommend this trilogy written by Sigrid Undset in the 1920s)

1970s cape, no label, thrifted, Boomerang. Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti top, purchased new in the early 1990s, Filene's Basement. Restricted brand non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Hat and scarf from Frocktasia. Bangles purchased in India. 1960s glove,?, 1970s Pakistani bag, eBay.I bailed on Halloween last week. I had every intention of going to a party, sort of a community thing, with a friend (who wasn't that keen on going). But I called her at the last minute and said I couldn't go, “because I didn't have the right chain mail,” a reason she said she'd never heard before. I was planning to wear my chain mail tunic over a long gray dress that I made in 1976 and haven't worn since.

A couple days before the party I got the chain mail out of my storage space; all the other costume elements were accessible. A couple hours before the party, I realized that I had pulled out a length of chain mail, not the length of chain mail I had turned into a tunic, which wasn't to be found. I felt under-dressed without my chain mail and opted out of going out for Halloween.

Long dress made from sweatshirt material, made by me in 1976. Necklaces, also made by me in 1976. Belt, borrowed from a man in the 1990s and never returned. Wooden chalice and Indian bag I've had for decades. Man's shawl from India, no idea where I acquired this.Halloween at my office in 2007, with a colleague's princess pup. I know I've posted this pic before, but here's the tunic. I hope it turns up by next Halloween.

Garments that are vaguely (or not-so-vaguely) medieval, capes, and Indian shirts. My style really hasn't changed that much in 40 years. Do you find that you and your 13-year-old self dress similarly, too?