Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carry on

If you've been a regular to my blog for some time, you may have noticed I've done very little outfit-related posts this year. I admit it, I've had some style ennui. Seeing as this blog revolves around style in a lot of ways (though I've never considered myself a "fashion blogger" by a long shot), that's made blogging kind of difficult.

I spent a long time trying to figure out what was bothering me. In the end, I think it was a combination of things, only some of which had to do with fashion but they manifested that way in some respects.

Devoting a lot of time to our new house. Moving to a neighborhood where fashions or trends of any kind are mostly, well, absent. Having a really difficult time finding anywhere in the house or yard with suitable lighting for blog photos. Having our closest friends from Chicago move to Wales. Not having any friends to hang out with who are into vintage (note: most of this navel-gazing pre-dates getting to know the lovely Liz of zilredloh.com, which tickles me). Working from home at least three days and not having a rip-roarin' social life leading to few opportunities to feel like I should even bother to dress up. Vintage-themed parties, events, etc? Gosh, I wish!!

And so, I think my motivation has been kind of low.

To be honest, I've had a lot of "why bother?" moments this year when it comes to my personal fashion. Who cares if I dress up vintage or not everyday? When I'm working from home, I don't get any complaints from the dog or the cat if I'm wearing jeans (albeit Freddie's of Pinewoods) and a tank top, and am wearing my hair in a messy ponytail.

I even found myself waffling a bit about my style in the last few weeks. Maybe I needed to be a little more modern, or just go a little more 50s, versus the earlier leanings I've had over the last year or two. I was lazy about setting my hair, so in a misguided attempt at hair happiness, I even went so far as to cut Bettie Page bangs again about a week ago.

A peek at our new living room color that we love... scattered light courtesy of small glass block window nooks

And then one day, I snapped out of it. I decided I needed to just carry on. 

Partially inspired by Sunni's excellent Everyday Wardrobe challenge, I decided I needed to be putting in some effort into how I looked even on days I didn't have plans (more days than not!). I decided I didn't care if I dressed like the 'odd man out' most of the time when I did go out.

And I realized I needed to just go ahead and do it for me.

I love vintage fashion. So what if I feel like an anomaly in my real life? Life can be fun that way. And it's not like before I wore vintage I fit into any molds, anyway. ;)  And so what if I'm wearing a cute outfit to sit around the house? It's not like I'm not talking about ballgowns here. I can be cute and casual at the same time.

See? These photos were taken Tuesday this week, a day I worked from home. Trousers, a blouse! Jewelry! Set hair! Lipstick, even. Yeah okay, the lippy came off before lunch and never went back on again... gotta draw the line somewhere.

I'm sharing this open, heartfelt post in the chance it might help someone else out there who has ever felt frustrated about their love of vintage-influenced fashions to know they're not alone. It's for any 40s gal who's ever wondered why they bother, for any 50s sweater girl who's just wanted to laze around in a t-shirt, for any flapper who's wondered why she was the only one flappin'.

I'm glad I went through some head-scratching moments, because I feel sure of myself in a way I didn't before. In fact, it's given me a more positive outlook on lots of other things as a result. I'm looking forward to sharing more outfit posts, planning more knitting and sewing, spending more time gathering inspiration from you, my friends, and working on trying to be fabulous in as many aspects of my life as I can.

And along the way, I know I'll just keep on carrying on with my vintage-loving self!


  1. Thank you for posting such a real and honest opinion on blogging and fashion. I completely relate to your un-inspiration. Lately, working on my thesis means I spend my days at home every day of the week, in front my computer. It's difficult to explain but I feel slmost silly getting dressed up for no reason but simultaneously, when I don't, I feel sad and deflated looking at my un-vintage self. Sometimes fashion can get you down, thank you for reminding me it can also be inspiring and uplifting. x

  2. I've been having some fashion blahs too lately. Either I've been working (and dressing blah) or sewing like crazy before school gets too busy and just throwing on shorts and a t-shirt. I think every once in a while, you need a fashion break before you can get re-inspired. I've been so tired of summer fashions but the weather finally broke so I can get out all of my fall pieces and that's helped me a lot!

  3. After wearing only vintage/thrifted fashion for the last 5 years I feel like I've kind of hit a rut too but whenever I think about wearing more contemporary fashions I realize how expensive/poorly made/unsuitable it is for my figure. Even if I'm just going to the local coffee shop or grocery store I "get dressed" so I think it's normal to be dressed even if you're working from home.

    Have you been going to the flea markets lately? I usually have Fridays & Saturdays free so let me know if you ever want to meet up to talk vintage, take outfit photos or thrift!

  4. Oh man do I ever feel you. Thanks for sharing such an honest post, it's so nice to see that we're not alone!

  5. What a wonderful post! I definitely understand where you're coming from - sometimes it just feels like 'too much effort', but if it's something you love, the effort is obvious and will make you feel fabulous! I'm glad you've made this post and I absolutely think it will inspire people to dress for themselves and make themselves happy! xx

  6. I can definitely identify with this post, especially since having a baby. I have been struggling to find a balance between new and old (though I would like to do exclusively old) I just don't always have the time or energy for it. I always feel so much better about myself when I do put forth the extra effort. I also feel like I have a place in vintage fashion, whereas in modern fashions and hairstyles, I am not so sure and I don't think they suit me. Anyway, you look gorgeous as always!

  7. Dearest Tasha, this is such an immensely soulful, excellent post. I wholeheartedly doubt there are many amongst us vintage loving/wearing gals who haven't, at one time or another, found themselves having similar thoughts and feelings to the ones you described here.

    As the only person I've ever known (in real life, as opposed to online) who wears mid-century vintage, I too have experienced feelings of being the odd woman out at times, as I yearned for a fellow vintageista or two nearby to hangout and swap style notes with.

    Perhaps that day will come sometime (goodness know I love to encourage everyone and their dog to embrace wearing vintage, if they have an interest in it), but until then (and certainly after!), but until it does (and of course after), I feel content and happy to have fantastic online friends and kindred spirits like yourself to help me feel accepted and fashionable no matter how much I dress up or down in my beloved vintage threads.

    Endless hugs & understanding,
    ♥ Jessica

  8. Thank you for this post. I have been going through something like this for the last several years. I started a funk and I haven't been able to pull myself out of it. Only recently, have I started coming through. But you and are alike when it comes to not feeling the whole getting dolled up part. Why bother when we are only doing it for our dog or someone who loves us just the way we are even in jeans and a ponytail. But I think it's more that we need to do it for ourselves, to helo ourselves feel better about who we are. Now then, I may talk a good talk, but I'm still don't believe it when it comes to myself. Hopefully soon, I can get back into the swing of things.


    P.S. I used to live in Chicago. :)

  9. What a wonderfully written, heartfelt post Tasha, thank you so much for being so honest. We all have periods of time when we feel 'why bother?' so it's great that your words are ultimately positive and inspiring. I'm sure it will strike a chord with lots of other women who've hit a style brick wall. Thanks again, this post has really made my day. X
    ps. You look fabulous in the pictures as does your new wall colour!

  10. I've never had a real life kindred spirit friend, they're thin on the ground around these parts and those I have noticed want nothing to do with me, but I plod on, alone, regardless.
    I have been feeling quite low lately, but always try to buck that feeling by forcing myself to wear what people might consider 'going out clothes' when I'm going nowhere. Though today, feeling a wee bit poorly, I haven't put my hair up and I'm wearing half 'going out' clothes and half 'staying in comfy' clothes.

  11. Interesting post, thanks. I'm just getting into a more vintage style of dressing. I'm making my own dresses and wearing vintage accessories. I wonder sometimes if I will 'grow out' of this 'phase' and perhaps I shouldn't get so obsessed. However, I know that I feel more like 'me' when I wear a retro styled outfit that I've ever done wearing current fashions from high street shops.

  12. I've gone through much the same thing a few times myself. Having largely worked from home myself the past few years, I struggled a lot with wondering "why" I should even dress up? Until I realized that the days I did I felt a heck of a lot better about myself (and was far more productive). Even on my icky days recently with being pregnant, rarely did you find me lounging around in pj's during the day. Often it'd be a simple 50s style wrap sundress, my hair in a soft ponytail or bun (I swear having short bangs has made my hairstyling 100x easier! lol.), and a swipe of mascara and red lipstick. ;) Sure did make things a bit better--if only just in my mind. ;) Though I think at this point everyone in my neighborhood thinks I'm a complete nut job with how dressy I am on a daily basis. Oh well--at least I find it entertaining to me! ;) lol.

    Also, can I just say I want to steal your entire outfit?! So perfect for everyday!

  13. You're a total inspiration and so lovely! Thanks for posting a heartfelt essay. One of things I really like about blogs is that they're organic and shift and change with a person's life. I think it's perfectly fine to fall in and out of love with these things. Style shouldn't be a rule book. You should see me on the days I work from home! Actually, you shouldn't... You look fabulous.

  14. I totally know the feeling of not wanting to put forth the effort when you're not going out... heck, I find myself orphaning some of my favorite pieces of clothing because I never have the "right" time to wear them (and I'm not talking about ballgowns here, either!). I'm lucky to work in an environment that is ideal for how I dress - we are required to dress up, but the code isn't really fussy (like we don't have to wear tights in the summer & I can wear my hooker heels if I feel like it haha). But when it comes to my days off - it's a lot of boring same-old-same-old.

    Love this post. We'll push through it - and look fabulous along the way :)

  15. I feel like this every day. No vintage kindred spirits in IC, and many days I don't even leave the house - so what IS the point? I've gotten to where I stay in my jammies all day so often that Moxie actually gets frantic when I get dressed! Sounds kind of terrible, but it seems silly to spend a lot of time dressing up when I could be using that time to get things accomplished.

    I have gotten a better casual wardrobe built up that I feel pretty comfortable in - still could use some work though. For awhile I couldn't seem to bring myself to buy or sew anything but dressy dresses! Which are wonderful, but sort of over the top for where I live and my lifestyle. I've just had to be honest with myself and try to find ways I can still dress fun and within my conception of myself, and not feel bad if I don't go there every day. No one's keeping score (thank goodness).
    What I really need to work on are cuter pajamas...

  16. I think everyone has periods like this! When I wrote my master thesis I worked a lot at home and was wearing comfy clothes all of the time, but after a while I felt like dressing up again. Just because the fun of it and I started missing wearing my favourite dresses. I also try to sew things which are comfortable to wear, but also represents my style.

  17. This post couldn't have come at a better time! I have been having these same sorts of thoughts about my own inclinations of dress. Glad to see you are getting back into the swing of things. It's inspiring!

  18. This is such a great, heart-felt post. I appreciated reading about the "why bother" since I often feel this way too. (But I do love my cosy t-shirts still which I often wear with vintage circle skirts. heh)

    And can I just say I LOVE your new paint color, that grey-blue is wonderful! :)

  19. Ah, yes! Most weeks the only people that see me are other parents at the school gate. None of whom I know socially. So "why bother" creeps up on me pretty regularly! That's one of the things about blogging and Me Made challenges. I kinda HAVE to make the effort and tend to feel better for it.
    You, lady, look awesome. But equally, there's nothing wrong with a messy pony tail and jeans now and then. Which incidentally, is a look I bet you rock too!

  20. Hair cutting while feeling down is always the worst time- I just did something drastic and ill-advised. Glad I'm not alone...your post is inspiring me to go get some red lippy on- might just help me out of the blahs and detract from the awful hair-don't that's now on my head!

  21. Oh no! I worried that your impulsive bangs would be regretted. I'm sorry for any hand I had in inspiring that. :( But on the upside, your hair looks lovely in these posts. I'd never know you were hiding regretted bangs up in there.

    And I don't know if it's new-home-owner-syndrome or what, but I totally went through a similar fashion low point when we bought our house. I think some of it was that for the first year, we spent almost every weekend working on the house, so I was always in grubby jeans and t-shirts. But then that started to bled into my weekday wear at work and it concerned me. It's nice to be a slob now and then, but this was becoming a regular thing for me. Now when I dress nicely at work, people take notice, which means, "Oh, crap, this isn't my normal look and I am now a daily slob." Your post is very inspiring. While winter is usually my least fun and fashionable season, I think I will try to go into it looking a bit more put together like I used to.

  22. I'm glad you got out of your slump!

  23. I work from home full time and I know how easy it is to just throw on some jeans and a tee and not make any effort! Some days I do, some days I don't - but I still always make an effort and still love getting dressed up when I'm going out and about, and at weekends, so I figure if I spend a couple of days a week in tracksuit bottoms (gasp!) and a hoodie (shock!)its no big deal! :)

  24. I'm so glad you shared this with us. I went through a similar situation a month or so ago. Sometimes you just have to say I'm gonna get out of this funk just because and do it for me. I also really understand feeling like there's no reason to get dressed up. I work at a Preschool and I've had to re-think my vintage a little. Trading in my dresses for more practical trousers. But I agree you can still be vintage and casual! And may I say you are sporting the most adorable outfit :)


  25. I feel you!! My new job is very casual so it doesn't make sense to dress up. I tend to wear jeans every day. I also havent bothered to do my hair in quite some time, leaving it straight. I hardly have been out lately too, which means I havent done an outfit or hair post in ages! I've been feeling lately too that I need to step it up. Whats the point of collecting vintage if I'm not gonna wear them??? Hopefully your post will inspire me to get a move on!

  26. I totally relate to this post!! I have to remind myself sometimes that I just end up looking more bizarre when I try to curb my natural tendencies in order to feel less 'out of place'. Also even people who do not share your personal sense of style are generally energised by seeing someone doing their own thing. It gives them permission to be themselves! I work from home AND just moved into the country, so I've been totally doing the casual thing (and I mean pyjamas a lot of times) but I always feel better if I do something-- set my hair, wear a belt, whatever!! Love your blog and your pics, thanks!!

  27. One of the many reasons I love your blog is that the 'real' shines through in every post! Your vintage looks is pretty and fun - keep up the great work!

  28. I really feel for you Tasha! Renovating a home take a lot out of you, no wonder you've been feeling a bit low.
    There may not be a lot of vintage-appreciators around you, but know that there's hundreds online who feel the same way as you do, and love your blog. (PS come hang out in Sydney, any time ;D).

  29. I definitely agree, you need to dress for yourself! Even if you aren't going anywhere, and you'll be the only one who sees your outfit (and maybe us) :)

  30. Thanks for this post, it was really what I needed, and you look amazing in these photos.

  31. I can totally relate! I work from home 5 days a week, and I love to put a fun scarf in my hair or wear one of my bajillion home-sewn 40s-style housedresses. Comfy, but not sloppy. When the UPS man comes, I'm sure he thinks he's stepped back in time, and that's just fine with me.
    I like to be happy with what I see when I glance in the mirror, TYVM. And it's very true that you really should look decent not only for yourself, but for your family. Much the same reason to not save your special linens and china for once a year. The ones you love deserve your best *now*!

  32. Thanks for posting this, I can really relate to it. I don't know anyone in "real" life that wears vintage like me and it can really make you feel strange when going out. As much as I LOVE vintage I get many many moments of feeling weird, but reading these types of blogs online always motivate me to not be afraid or timid about it. Anyways my mind gets all jumbled up when I start talking about this.

    Its always feels good to know that I am not alone and someone out there is wearing vintage like me, even though I can only see them online. :)

    Thanks again.

  33. I have not struggled with this. My blah moment came when I felt I was wearing the same pieces of clothing all the time. And I did not have a larger vintage clothing wardrobe, which I don’t. So I decided to seek some advice. I post on a vintage forum quite often. You may have seen it. The WWW.FedoraLounge.Com. The advice I was given was choose a color that will go with every thing in my wardrobe, a signature color. I decided on three colors that will be a part of my wardrobe. And also after watching the movie Legally Blonde one of the actress mentioned a signature color. The lead actress’ signature colors in the movie were pink, blue, and purple. A couple of times I noticed she also wore green and multi-colors items. That is when I had a light bulb moment. This helped me out big time. Now, I am not so frustrated when I get dressed for the day. My signature colors are blue (all blues from navy blue to teal), red, and white. A couple of my accessories colors are brown, black, blue-teal colored. Plus having a signature color helps me out when I shop for clothing. It curb me from buying something I may end up wearing one time and it will live in my closet till I decide to give it away of trade (at the Buffalo Exchange) it for something else I know I’ll wear all the time.
    Another clothing dilemma I was struggling with was loungewear. What to wear on my days off from work or while staying at home. Low and behold I stumbled across this post from Tales of a Modern Housewife’s blog.
    Glamorous Loungewear http://talesofaretromodernhousewife.blogspot.com/2009/06/but-without-my-sweatpants-what-will-i.html

    Ideas For Comfortable Yet Glamorous Outfits http://talesofaretromodernhousewife.blogspot.com/2011/11/ideas-for-comfortable-yet-glamorous.html

    How to tie a Headscarf retro style.

  34. Oh, I totally understand about not really knowing anyone who is also into vintage. Living near you. I do ask people I know about getting together and checking out some of the vintage events around the city. No one I know wants to join me. Since I still planned to attend one of these events (concerts, thrifting, and Estate sale finds, etc. I do not let that stop me from going. Even if it means going solo. Plus I get to enjoy the things I like without having to wait around for someone to go with me.
    The first 1930's band I ever saw was at summer dance in Grant Park the Alan Gresik Swing Shift orchestra. They are triple fantastic. And were so nice when I went to see them play at the Green Mill (the play there on Thursday nights). They even allowed me to take photos of the band.
    Just this past January I went to the Elvis Lives concert. It was so worth it. The spirit of Elvis was in the house big time. Also I went to a concert for the 1950's band Modern Sounds who were playing at the Green Mill this past July. The first time I saw Modern Sounds play was when I went to the Imelda May Chicago concert. They were the opening band. I also got the chance to check out a swing dance night on Tuesdays over at Black Rock. I got asked to dance a couple of times, too. The most recent vintage event I went to was at the Music Box theater they hosted a weeks worth of rare vintage Noir films.
    It was so much fun! Also a few times I've gone to the Drake hotel to check out the 1940's-1950's band the Flat Cats. And to dance (only if a fella asked me to dance). The first time I saw the Flat Cats play was also at Summer Dance.
    Even though I mostly go out solo ( I do not drink or smoke) I realized how much fun I did end up having. Had I waited around. I would've missed out on some killer diller events.

    I use to wait to go places. Only if someone else wanted to go too. By doing this I realized how board and sad I was becoming.
    I no longer worry about that any more.

    Plus I noticed its hard trying to spark up a conversation with someone at one of these events who is also into vintage.
    I always step out of my comfort zone. And if I see a stylish vintage lady I'll say great outfit . We smile and the lady will also say I like your out fit, too. And then that is it. We part ways.
    Still this will not prevent me from having fun and enjoying the things I like.
    So mostly I read and comment on wonderful vintage blogs such as yours. Thank you by the way. And joined the community on the www.fedoralounge.com vintage forum.

    Have a lovely evening.

  35. Thanks for that post! I totally feel that way sometimes, and it is such an effort! I find myself putting on makeup in the car on the drive to work, and feel really yukky - glad someone else understands that it isn't for everyone else that we dress up!

  36. I just found your blog today. Oh, you have such a lovely vintage look. I used to work with a woman who only wore vintage clothes, and I admired her so much... I'd do it, too, but have never had the figure to do it. I scratch my vintage itch by wearing brooches -- I inherited several from my grandmother and my husband's mother. A modern conservative suit or dress ensemble takes on a secret quirk when I put on a brooch!

  37. I love a crisp white shirt, you look so lovely! I've been a long time reader, but never commented before. I've always liked your style. I think we shouldn't make any rules for ourselves. Dress how you feel :-)

  38. you look lovely in your photos.I have been going through the same thing.Where I live there is no scene at all for vintage so when I go out I am the one over dressed.And with work being crazy hours I hardly get to blog at all.Sometimes you just need a break.Great post.xx

  39. "I'm sharing this open, heartfelt post in the chance it might help someone else out there who has ever felt frustrated about their love of vintage-influenced fashions to know they're not alone. It's for any 40s gal who's ever wondered why they bother, for any 50s sweater girl who's just wanted to laze around in a t-shirt, for any flapper who's wondered why she was the only one flappin'." Thanks so much for this post. I found your blog out of frustration. I was looking for more "Vintage" Chicago Bloggers and found a listing on Thriftaholic's. So happy I went searching. Not sure what area you are in, but if you ever want to meet up to thrift or shoot let me know!
    Buffalo Hearts

  40. So glad you did decide to "carry on" ;-) I've been having an off moment myself and it's good to know that you can put it behind you and move on!

    Danielle @ConstantlyAlice

  41. I can so relate to this! I live in the suburbs of Northern Virginia and DC and the average person dresses very conservatively. The typical look is either business attire or crocs and mom jeans. When I am out and about, I often get stared at like I am a three-headed alien. I do get the occasional compliment too. Most people here only care about fitting in and/or going with the crowd. However, if I am in DC proper I do not get stared at as much. There are more alternative folks in town. I sometimes wonder "why bother?" Sometimes, I too, feel like "toning it down" but then I realize I would be miserable and essentially not be my real self. I "carry on" and all is well!

  42. Bravo! I'm glad you're taking a good attitude about being in a "funk"-- this post was just the pep talk I needed on a gloomy day in Nashville with a vintage fashion "miss" hovering over my head (I thought I looked Wednesday Addams/Victorian-ish...and now I'm not sure WHAT I look like) :) Also, I'm nuts about that Vancouver charm bracelet. NUTS. Looking forward to more outfit posts from you! You find (and make) so many pretty pieces!

  43. Keep at it Tasha, you look fantastic, and I too love the charm bracelet. You look very much like pics of my mum circa 1948... though she had fewer tattoos... :-)

  44. Thank you for this post! I think it's easy to loose sight of what really makes us feel good about ourselves. While I still dress up a little bit for work, my effort for dance nights have dimmed lately. I tend to go in my work-wear, and seldom fix my hair. Time to change! I mean, I love dressing up, why don't put that extra 30 min on looking fabolous instead of just ok? No reason what so ever...
    At work, at dance events, even just going around town, I'm often more dressed up than people around me. In the beginning I was very selfconcious, but now it's almost become a sport to be the most notable (notable just by looking classic, not vulgar)! I like to think I raise the bar for my fellow men/women, maybe changing the standards a bit so that someone dares to put on something they've thought to be too "dressy" =)

  45. Wow. It is like you went inside my head and wrote a post about ME! I feel the exact same way at the moment. I spend a lot of time at home these days and find myself shoving on the same house dress & fleecy slippers. Sometimes I take my hair out of my pins curls, some times I let them stay in for days because I just can't be arsed.

    Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post xxx

  46. Whoowhee, girl! You had me on the edge of my seat! I was yelling in my head, "Do it for you! Do it for you!" I'm so glad that you came to that decision. You always look so beautiful and I just KNOW that you inspire people around you all of the time without your even knowing it.


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