Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Style Goes Vintage

We all know fashion is recycled. How many times have we donated clothing that comes back in style only a few years later? Designers have hit every decade and when they reach the 90's, they start their search for historical inspiration all over again. I usually preach about taking the old and adding your own modern twist, but you can just as easily reverse my mantra. With this spring's Top 10 Trends, take the modern and make it look retro. This can be done through an antique brooch, hat, handbag, costume jewelry or even with your hairstyle or make-up application.


1. Color Blocking.

The new...

...can be made retro with kitten heels and a 60's bun.

2. Leather Skirts and Dresses.
The new...
...and the 80's look can be acquired by giving your hair that extra volume.

3. Bold Floral Prints.

The new...

...and the retro that can be upheld with large mid-century earrings or berrets.

4. Orange and Tangarine.

The new...

...and the retro that takes matching ballet flats and a pixie cut.

5. Sea Green.

The new...
...and the retro can be had with a vintage hat placed on the head.

6. Global Prints.

The new...

...and the retro that can be achieved by adding colorful go-go boots.

7. White.

The new...

...and the retro that can be done by wearing heels and a lacy slip spying through.

8. Camo.
The new...

...and the retro that can be done by adding different prints and textures.

9. Metallics.

The new...
...and the retro can be created with the application of bright red lipstick.

10. Peplum Skirts and Dresses.
The new...

...and the retro can be made with a 1940's handbag (skip the gloves tp prevent costume territory.)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vintage Tip Tuesday 30

A good bed is essential. It makes your days flow by better and bedtime welcoming. For ten years (maybe more) I slept on a futon. It was lumpy and old and had to be disguised with vintage quilts and homemade pillows in order to go with my otherwise mid century apartment. Last October while doing my daily Craigslist check, I came across a 1940's hospital bed frame for $150 and an extra $50 for a delivery fee. Without much thought, I jumped at the chance to own such a cool piece. A fellow vintage lover and her father brought me the bed frame, head board and foot board, I gave her the cash and placed it in the corner of my living room for a week while I decided what would be done with the paint job.

It came painted silver with scratches here and there that showcased the rust beneath. I loved this industrial look, but knew it would look misplaced in my mid-century Paris style apartment that had a goldish/bronze running through. I also knew the rust would stain my blankets and wasn't a practical design choice outside of an Anthopologie catalogue. After a week of contemplating what to paint my spectacular new purchase, I made a trip to Orchard Supply where I found a metal spray paint called Hammered Bronze. This was perfect. I had almost wanted to paint it a mint green, but the bronze would give me more versalility.

Living on the top floor of an apartment building makes a project like this challenging. Tarps had to be bought for the courtyard, the head and foot board had to be striped, sanded and painted at separate times, and prayers had to be said that tennants wouldn't complain about the aerosol fumes that would have shut down my whole project for God knows how long. For 2 weeks I took my headboard down the flights of stairs, sprayed it with primer, sat in the courtyard while it dried, flipped it to the other side, sprayed that side with primer, sat there while it dried (my apartment building is known to have many a thief) and then brought it up the stairs only to turn around and do the same thing with the foot board. I sprayed three coats of primer, three coats of color, and two coats of the protective no-chip top coat. With each coat of everything I sprayed I had to do the same process. It took about a month until all was done.

My bed frame sat in my living room for two months as I saved for a nice mattress. When I finally bought one from, I had to wait another couple weeks for it to arrive. The night before the delivery men arrived, I screwed and bolted my bed together. I thought it was raised really high off the ground but since there was no adjusting such an old bed, I decided to just be pleased with all the extra storage. That pleased feeling quickly left when the delivery men placed my new box spring and mattress on my bed frame and it suddenly resembled the bed from The Princess and the Pea. It was so ridiculously high that I practically needed a ladder. In fact it was higher than my footboard and showed very little of my headboard. All the work I did to my bed was being hidden by this mattress.

The delivery men wouldn't take it back. They jolted out of my place leaving me with a mattress I couldn't keep for a variety of reasons. Overstock I learned was not at all helpful. They don't do returns on mattresses despite saying they would return anything bought on their site between November and the end of December for the holidays. With this reminder, they agreed to take it back for a $180 fee. I probably could have sued them for having that info no where to be seen during the purchasing process, but that would have cost more, so after much fretting over what I was going to do, I decided that I would get a thick slab of wood the dimensions of my bed to stand in for my box spring. The mattress was comfortable, so if I took away the 9" that the box spring added, I would be fine. Of course it took awhile to find someone with a truck and a willingness to help me out but I finally did a few weeks ago and now I have a bed.

My tip: If you're undergoing a furniture project, have lots of patience, your own truck, a garage, and understand that it will probably cost you more than you anticipated ($150 for bed; $50 for delivery; $60+ for paint job; $600 for mattress; $40 for wood slabs = total cost of $900.) A bed is worth the cost and waiting five months to sleep on it though, right?

My futon hidden by a white quilt.

Hospital beds were invented in 1874, but during the depression era there were wheels and adjustments added.

Did I buy Jughead's bed???

This was the photo on Craigslist...looks white but it's silver.

After striping the paint and sanding, I sprayed primer.

Hammer bronze.

Last coat is drying...

My very very high mattress.

The mattress towered over the foot board until bI replaced the box spring with a slab of wood.
My finished project!!!!

I love getting into my cozy bed now.

My dog is upset I haven't put him on the bed yet.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Inspirational Icon Monday: Debbie Harry

Was there anyone cooler than Debbie Harry in the late seventies/early eighties? I wasn't even born when their first couple of albums came out, but I'll just take the initiative and say "no." I love her platinum disheveled blunt cut and punk dress code. She gave a new attitude to being blonde by turning the Barbie doll look on its head. Am I crazy for wanting to bleach my hair blonde? Photos of her make me want to take crazy chances like that. Chances were after all what the Blondie lead singer has always been about.

Raised by adoptive parents in New Jersey, Harry went after a singing career after completing two years of college at . She worked many waitressing jobs until she joined a female trio called The Stilletos where she met guitarist Chris Stein. The two eventual lovers left the group in 1974 and started a band they decided to call Blondie in reference to the street shout-outs Harry would constantly receive.

With hits like "Call Me" and "Heart of Glass," Blondie rose to the top of the charts and Harry became the face of punk pop. The band couldn't secure continued success and did break up after only a four albums, but Harry was the female rocker that paved the way for all the beautiful, edgy and sexually powerful singers that came after her. She didn't need to be leading albums sales to continue doing what she loved either. She continued to to explore other genres such as reggae and jazz as a solo artist and still shares her talents with all that will listen.