Category Archives: Dressing up

Keeping warm in Welsh Tapestry

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

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It’s February, it’s midwinter and it’s really cold! What needed right now is a stylish warm coat, and my own preference is for wool. I generally opt for natural fabrics, and wool is fabulous as it is superbly warm and breathable too. As with most of my own clothes, I look for a stylish vintage option, and living as I do, in West Wales, I keep a look out for Welsh wool, and in particular for the amazing fabric known as Welsh Tapestry. Welsh Tapestry is not a tapestry at all, but a woven double cloth. It has two distinct patterns, one one each side of the cloth, so it is reversible. Traditionally, Welsh Tapestry was produced for “carthen” , or quilts, heavy double sided bed covers, often fringed at each end. In the mid and late 1800s there were many woollen mills throughout Wales, and particularly here in West Wales. It was also a cottage industry, with processes such as carding, spinning, dyeing and finishing taking place in homes as well as in factories. Other woollen fabrics, like Welsh flannel, were also woven here for clothing. Welsh Tapestry patterns are traditional, but variations are particular to certain mills. The industry went into decline, but was revived in the 1960s, when fashion designers like Mary Quant chose Welsh wool fabrics in bright colours for clothing such as mini skirts, waistcoats, jackets, capes and matching bags.
Today, Vintage Welsh Tapestry quilts and clothes are sought after and collectible. A traditional double cloth quilt will cost around £250-£300, a 1960s coat around £150.
My own collection includes several double cloth quilts. These are fabulously warm and look stunning on a bed. I have also recently bought two incredible capes, a short blue and black one and a full length beige and brown one. I have to say, I love wearing them, and they are warmer than any coat I possess!

Floslingerie moves to Coolclobber 2019

Over the next few weeks Floslingerie will be moving to Coolclobber and will be found under the shop section Vintage Lingerie. You will be able to find all of my current stock in one shop! Do take a look at the new section.
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

New Year’s predictions 2019

January 1st 2019

It’s the beginning of a New Year, and a good time for creative planning and for taking stock. The High Street shops are full of sales, but fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle are all featuring top ten lists of “what to wear in 2019” .

If you are a vintage clothes lover, it is a good time to assess your own wardrobe and maybe update it with a few pieces that will make you feel fabulous and current, uniquely stylish but on -trend too.

My list of predictions is quite modest, but based on my observations as a vintage clothes seller as well as an eye on what contemporary fashion has on offer in the months ahead. The magazines base their predictions on the New York, London, Paris and Milan catwalk shows, and the filtered down versions of High fashion that hit the shops.

My first prediction is based on the ongoing love affair that we have with 1970s fashion, in particular with long flowing bo-ho and hippy inspired dresses, chiffon layers, “medieval “ sleeves, as well as soft easy to wear high waisted pants, wrap tops and long scarves, in glorious technicolour. Designers that we love include Ossie Clark, Gina Fratini, Frank Usher and Ronald Joyce, and copycats like Ghost and Monsoon. I think we will have more of the same in 2019, particularly in the summer months, when these clothes are so easy to wear, romantic and comfortable.

My second prediction is that classic tailoring, which never really dates, will emerge as a fashion statement, probably with exaggerated jacket shapes and asymmetric pencil skirts. Colours will be bold, red, blue, black and camel. Vintage buyers look for traditional classic labels like Alexon or Jaeger. Choose a pencil skirt and oversized blazer shape ( that can be cinched in with a belt), or a trouser suit with cigarette pants and a fitted jacket. Competent dressmakers can easily customise a skirt or jacket to give a contemporary twist….or keep it classic and dress it up with accessories.

My third prediction for 2019 is a nod to Military clothing. All vintage clothing wearers know that a trenchcoat is a dateless classic. I think that we will see the trench in all its variations this year…as a short version and as a maxi length. Classic labels include Aquascutum and Burberry. I think that we will also see a fair amount of Khaki , nodding to military style with both its colour and metal hardwear, buttons and buckles. This can be a good choice for casual wear, like a lightweight jacket or shirt. I think we will also see quite a lot of camouflage print , in T shirts and crop tops, probably best to avoid unless you are under twelve! As far as accessorizing goes, Army surplus stores will be a source of belts and bags that can introduce a touch of militaria to an outfit.

So, those are my thoughts and predictions for the year to come! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

Vintage Christmas Gifts For Women

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Here are a few of my top picks for Christmas, all from Coolclobber. Whatever your favourite era, you can accessorise with a stylish handbag, scarf, hat or gloves, to add a bit of Vintage “ je ne sais quoi” to your outfit.

It is easy to create your own style with Vintage pieces, knowing that your look is unique.  Friends too appreciate the thought that goes in to finding them a special Vintage gift. My gift suggestions include leather goods, such as a good quality wallet, belt or writing case, as well as powder compacts, which are practical as well as beautiful. For compacts, look for makes like Stratton or Coty, for quality pieces.

If you are buying Vintage clothes on line, (and particularly if you are buying for someone else!), do check all measurements carefully, remembering the sizes can vary enormously on Vintage items, and size labels are therefore deceptive.

Many items at Coolclobber and Floslingerie have free postage within the U.K. for the rest of the year.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

 

Vintage Christmas gifts for men

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November is here, and the High St shops are already decorated for Christmas.  It’s a great time to start thinking about Christmas Shopping, and if you are into Vintage, it’s a great time to source the perfect gifts for your friends and family.

My selection of menswear items includes both clothes and accessories. My on-line shop, Coolclobber, has a wide selection of menswear from all eras, with a particularly good section of small items that are perfect for gifting.  Wallets, grooming kits, scarves, gloves and hats make great gifts and many of these items are priced between £20 and £50.  I also have some fabulous shirts, sweaters and coats, and many of my items are Deadstock ( unworn old shop stock).  Many items in stock are postage free within the UK, right up until the end of the year!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

Christmas post……..Do post early for Christmas. In my on-line shop I recommend  December 1st for International orders and December 15th for U.K. orders.

Sales & Offers

Postage offer
Free postage offer

UK free postage
Coolclobber
Free postage offer

Its October already and the UK High Street is already gearing up for Christmas with cards and gifts for sale everywhere!  Here is a seasonal offer for U.K. vintage buyers….free P&P on all orders over £38 at Coolclobber, and over £25 at Floslingerie. Offers last right through the rest of 2018.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see direct links to both of my shops, or browse through some more posts and follow the embedded links.

Ethical Choices and Your Wardrobe

What do you wear and how do you shop? Do you ever consider the impact that your fashion choices make in terms of sustainability, pollution, ecology and exploitation? The global fashion industry impacts on both agriculture and manufacturing, using, producing, abusing chemicals and pesticides, oil and petrochemicals and water, to create products that all too often are worn for a season and then discarded. “Fast Fashion”is often synonymous with worker exploitation, dangerous working conditions, child labour and with workers being paid a pittance.
It is certainly possible to make ethical choices about what you wear and about how you shop, and still have a fabulous wardrobe!
It is probably a good idea to take a good look at what clothes you have, and sort them out! I recently had a good old wardrobe declutter and went for a “capsule” wardrobe approach. I reduced my clothes by about half and found the exercise therapeutic and useful! It has allowed me to see what items I overbuy and what items I truly need! If you do have clothes that no longer fit, you could sell them on-line, or you could donate them to a charity shop. Clothing that charity shops cannot use is usually sold on to a “Rag man”, a trader who will sort the items for recycling in the textile industry, for re-sale abroad, e.g. in Ghana, The Ukraine, Pakistan, or for land fill. You could also get a bit more creative and organise a “clothes swap” event with friends or family, or you could take a pitch at a Car Boot sale and try your luck direct selling!

What about those items that need a little TLC ?
Repairs and alterations are really not difficult, even for a sewing novice! You can sew on a button very simply with a needle and thread. If you can sew on a button, you can replace all of the buttons on a dress or jacket and give it an entirely new look. Look at a few YouTube tutorials or buy a book and learn a few basic stitches… running stitch, back stitch and blind hemming will serve you well, and enable you to repair a split seam, stitch on a patch or repair a snagged hem.
Invest in a sewing machine and a whole world of creativity opens up to you……
Back to that pile of discarded clothes…..reuse the fabrics and make something new. It is pretty easy to turn a pair of jeans into a skirt, or a tote bag, or a pair of shorts! You can turn a dress into a skirt or a skirt into a dress. You just need a bit of imagination!

Shopping.
Consider buying Vintage or buying from charity shops. Buying used clothes is the ultimate in clothing recycling and offers so much choice. Buying from an On-line or a Brick & Mortar Vintage Shop gives you the opportunity to explore fashion history, create a unique and personal style often with one-off pieces. Look for iconic pieces from a certain era, or for certain designers. Some Vintage buyers like a total look, perhaps even with hairstyle and footwear from a particular era, whereas many like to mix Vintage with modern, for a more eclectic and individual personal style. In Charity shops, be prepared to look through racks and racks of mainly modern clothes. You will often find bargains, particularly in “special occasion” wear, and could save yourself lots of money!

New clothes.
Think of new clothes as investment pieces. It is worth looking at how your clothes are produced, from the source of the fibre and fabric to completion. Organic fibres, hemp, linen, cotton, wool etc., or recycled fabrics would be used more if we created a demand for them. You may wish to support up and coming designers or small collectives that consider the impact of their methods on the environment and produce clothes that will last.

Shop offers September 2018

September postage offer
Free postage offer

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

September offer
Free postage offer

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FlosLingerie

 

Capsule Wardrobe, a versatile clothes collection.

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I am no minimalist. My aim is to create a “capsule wardrobe” of assorted pieces that I can combine in a variety of ways and enjoy wearing.  I think it is a given that I should have more than one pair of jeans and more than one T, but key pieces have to versatile.

In the little collection above, I have combined some favourite Vintage pieces with new items.

Firstly, I have included my favourite coat, a black wool, single breasted collarless straight cut garment by Corner Shop that I bought in 1990 from a Paul Sartori charity shop in Haverfordwest. I think that it had been made to measure for someone, but fitted me perfectly, and still does! It cost me £7. When I put this coat on, I feel instantly smart, and it works with dresses, skirts, trousers and jeans. As it is collarless, I often add a scarf. The scarf in the photos is one that I made myself. It is black wool with woven border deep pockets and a light grey suiting lining. ( One of the photos also shows this scarf worn with a black dress.)

I am a great fan of traditional Welsh Wool, and collect blankets and “carthen”, mostly brightly coloured ones from the 1960s.  The 1960s was a great era for the Woollen mills of West Wales, as fashion designers such as Mary Quant, used Welsh woollen cloth to create funky clothes and accessories.  The two skirts included in this collection are both Welsh wool cloth from the 1960s.  Both the red cloth and the green cloth are traditional woven patterns.  In one outfit, I have combined the sixties skirt with an early 90s black zip top by Workers for Freedom, and a white T.  I would wear this zip top with either skirt, and love the white “surprise” detail on the back.

The grey merino wool cardigan with red and maroon yoke is a recent purchase from TK Maxx. It is the perfect length to wear with the red skirt, but will also combine well with jeans.

The classic denim jeans jacket is also a recent High Steeet purchase, and already a favourite of mine. I have shown it here with one of the 60s skirts ( I could wear it with either), with my black straight cut Per Una jeans (bought second hand), with a Vintage Orvis button-through below the knee black cotton dress, and with  a stretchy knee length tie-dye patterned T shirt dress by Apricot, bought a few years ago on the High St. ( cheap and cheerful!)

One of my favourite items is a glorious reversible Vintage embroidered silk jacket from the Orient. Depending upon my mood and upon the occasion, I can wear it black with a red lining or red with a black lining. I can dress it up or dress it down. I wear it with the black jeans or over the black dress.

The last item in this little collection is a Vintage Hyphen silk lined knee length frock coat, that has been in my wardrobe for about twenty years. It has a single button in the front and is fitted. It looks great over black jeans, but also looks great over the stretchy Apricot dress.  It’s the type of garment that looks pretty sharp!

So, I think that is about a dozen items of clothing that form the basis of my wardrobe, and about 50% of its volume. The remainder is mainly seasonal or party clothes that I can happily put into storage, but also include a couple of shirts that I love and wear, an oversized sweater, ditto, and a classic trench coat.

That’s it!

Add ons include: underwear, footwear, accessories, bags, scarves, belts etc.

Capsule Wardrobe, what stays and what goes.

Sorting out my wardrobe is proving to be an interesting process, as I take a long hard look at the clothes I wear, assess how I really want to present myself and re-imagine how the clothes that I own suit the life that I lead. Through the sorting process I have already reduced the volume of clothes by around a third, and am likely to lose more along the way as I get around to trying on items that I have rarely worn. If they don’t fit or suit me in any way they will go!
So, what clothes earn a place in a wardrobe fit for my lifestyle? As a general guide, I have to enjoy wearing an item, and it must be something that I can wear regularly. Separates, pants, skirts and tops are great because of their versatility and interchangeability. You can create several looks with just a few key separates, just by mixing up the pieces! Add in a couple of jackets, a full length coat and a raincoat and you have even more possibilities for creating different looks. If you substitute dresses for separates you are creating a totally different narrative and presentation.
When you go through the process of sorting through your clothes, you need to be realistic rather than simply ruthless. For my own purposes, I don’t really have a “seasonal” wardrobe. What I wear through Spring Summer Autumn and Winter changes little. This does not mean that I wear the same outfits, but it does mean that a lot of my clothes take me through more than one season! For example, I wear jeans, pants and shirts at every time of the year, and layering can also extend the use of separates beyond one season. Inevitably, there will be a few pieces that are worn just occasionally, maybe for special occasions, but, as they are lovely Vintage pieces, I look forward to those occasions and am happy to keep them in my wardrobe. The same principle applies to investment pieces, such as a classic Winter coat or a stylish Trench coat that can be worn year on year.
When you pare down your wardrobe, the aim is to end up with a collection of clothes that you can wear with confidence. Clothes reflect your personality and are an expression of your creativity. Create your own style, whether it be with Vintage, modern, or a mix of the two.
The process of sorting out your wardrobe can be revelatory as it reveals so much about your character, your aspirations and your buying habits! For example, do you have clothes that you have bought but never worn? Have you bought items that are the wrong size in the hope that one day they will fit you? Have you bought clothes that are unflattering? Are your clothes drab and I’ll fitting? Are most of your clothes vintage or upcycled, sourced from ethical suppliers or handmade by you….or do you buy designer wear, shop on the High Street or buy on-line? Are you more interested in Fashion or in Function? Do your clothes suit the life that you lead Now?
Once you see what you have got, and question what you need, it is easier to put together a collection that you can enjoy now and carry on enjoying in the future.
Sorting out your wardrobe is an opportunity to update your style and sharpen up your personal presentation. When you next shop for clothes, you will know what is missing from your wardrobe and you can shop for pieces that will enhance your collection.
Wear your clothes with confidence and own the look that you have created.