“Life and survival in the postwar period”

Last month when I visited Amsterdam, my friend Birthe Weijkamp told me about an event held at a living history museum about an hour from me. It’s called “Leben und Überleben in der Nachkriegszeit“ or “Life and survival in the postwar period”. It’s a weekend-long event commemorating the years immediately after WWII. There are a few of these events around Germany, but this was the first time that I attended one. I knew that I would probably be the only attendee to dress up, but that’s ok. I had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the reenactors and learning a bit about what life was like in this area after the war.

Dress ~ eShakti 
Brooch ~ Vintage (I can’t remember where I got it)
Shoes ~ Thrifted
Purse ~ Vintage from a flea market
Umbrella ~ Vintage from a flea market
Hat ~ Vintage from My Vintage Hat Shop on Etsy

The event was fascinating, some many wonderful things to look at and learn about. There was a table set up showing the daily rations of food for each person, I was ashtonished at how little it was. There were samples of various baked goods, marmalades, and mustards that were made from ingredients found nearby, such as dandelion marmalade, carrot marmalade, a coffee substitute made from roasted roots and chicory.

Daily food rations for a normal consumer during the postwar period.

They even demonstrated how they boiled and washed laundry.

 

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Tulip Fever

We are in the Netherlands again, this time we are here to visit the Keukenhof Gardens. Tulips are my favorite flowers and I’ve been wanting to visit these gardens ever since we moved to Germany. This year my husband’s mom is here visiting us so we thought she’d also like to visit these gardens as well.

It was everything that I dreamt of and more! So many spectacular flowers arranged in stunning color combinations.

Dress ~ eShakti
Hat ~ Vintage from an antique mall in Baltimore
Shoes ~ Soft Spots

The Beauty of Spring

Spring and Autumn are my two favorite seasons. I would be entirely happy if we just switched back and forth between them. Spring reminds me that there are always new beginnings and new adventures around the corner. I recently celebrated the Spring Equinox (Ostara) as well as my 43rd birthday, usually we take a trip to Paris for my birthday, but this year my husband had a work trip planned to the Dutch city of Utrecht and I got to tag along. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Utrecht and we even took the train into Amsterdam a few times to explore the city. This was my first time visiting the Netherlands and I very much enjoyed my time there. We are actually going back next month to see the Keukenhof gardens when my husband’s mom comes to visit, so I will have tons of photos of beautiful tulips then.

On our last full day we visited the Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden. It’s one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It was established in 1638 by the city municipality as Hortus Medicus, an herb garden with medical plants for Amsterdam’s doctors and pharmacists. The reasons for establishing a specialized medical garden were very serious: at that time the cities of Leiden and Utrecht experienced the plague epidemic (1634-1637) with thousands of victims. Additionally, several monasteries moved out of the quickly growing city and there was not enough space in Amsterdam to plant herbs.

Of course I had to wear a floral print dress to visit a botanical garden. I love botanical gardens and this one did not disappoint. If you are in Amsterdam I recommend you take a few hours and stroll through these gardens.

Dress ~ eShakti
Belt ~ Amazon
Shoes ~ Soft Spots 

Shot to the heart

It’s been quite a while since I got all glammed up just for a photo shoot. When this dress from eShakti arrived, I immediately started planning out how I wanted to style this dress. However the weather clearly didn’t get my request for clear skies. But it’s ok, we made the best of it.

Normally I shy away from anything with cutesy hearts on it, but this hearts and arrows dress is so reminiscent of the iconic sweater that Ginger Rogers wore in the 1938 movie Carefree as well as the dress that House of Schiaparelli came out with in 2014, that I just couldn’t resist. I’m a sucker for garments with embroidery and this dress did not dissapoint.

 

Dress ~ eShakti
Velvet Hat ~ Vintage, purchased at an antique mall in Maryland
Corset purse ~ Hot Topic
Gloves ~ Vintage, gifted from my godmother
Umbrella ~ Vintage, purchase at a flea market
Shoes ~ Cheslea Crew

 

 

Plaid Perfection

On cold days in winter, I love visiting our weekly Farmer’s Market. It helps remind me that delightful color still exists and the foods that are available during the colder season can be quite cheerful. Winter can be very grey and bleak at times, but we had a beautifully clear and sunny day today, although it was quite cold outside, so off to the market we went.

I love the Farmer’s Market in Kaiserslautern, we have our favorite stalls/sellers and usually grab a yummy krustenbraten sandwich or bratwurst as we walk around and shop.

Knit Beret ~ Lord & Taft
Blouse ~ Emmy Design
Cardigan ~ Yemak bought on Amazon
Earrings ~ Chez PouPoule in Paris
Necklace ~Vintage bought from Ivy Cottage 2 U on Etsy
Skirt ~ Voodoo Vixen
Coat ~ Hell Bunny
Shoes ~ Rockport Cobb Hill Aria 

I wanted to try and be as colorful as the fruits and veggies today. I saw this skirt on my friend Sarah Baker Day and absolutely fell in love with it. I jumped over to the Voodoo Vixen website and bought it immediately. I’m so glad I did, it’s a wonderful heavier weight wool and the colors are spectacular; and of course it has pockets!

I love plaid so much because you can pull from all the different colors in the pattern and even wear complementary colors that aren’t actually in the pattern itself. That’s what I did here today. My cardigan is a teal color, however there isn’t teal in the pattern, but it compliments it so well. I also matched the mustard and orange colors with my beret and necklace.

Here is my favorite cheese lady. She is always so kind and helpful, gives out samples and she knows exactly what cheeses we should take home with us.




 

Questions Answered

Thank you so much to everyone who sent in questions for me! Life got a bit busy, so it’s taken a bit longer to put this together, so sorry about that. With out any further ado… here are the questions and and answers.

Q: What a stunning lady you are and I love your feminine romantic style. My question to you is: do you usually bother with “foundation garments” as my mother would call them? I remember she felt that a lovely outfit required a “roll-on girdle” or “all in one bra/girdle” for her to feel and look her best. In recent years as I have gained weight, I remember her words but put them aside again when I consider just how hot our summers are here in Australia.
~Heather

A: This is a great question and my mother was very similar in her thoughts on the subject. I’ll have to say, it depends on the outfit. As a curvy gal there are some outfits that I’m just more comfortable in if I am wearing some sort of shape wear. I have different items for different silhouettes, such as corsets, girdles, longline bras (although I’m still searching for the perfect one), or shaper shorts to wear under trousers or tighter skirts/dresses. But I haven’t yet found the perfect item that feels comfortable to wear all day or that doesn’t smoosh and squish my soft parts into unfavorable directions. 

I do wear a slip or slip shorts everyday. I love the feel of a slip and I feel it helps keep me cool in summer and warmer in the winter. My slip shorts are essential for me during the summer to avoid the dreaded “chub rub” and they work as another layer for modesty as well. 

Q: Hi Christine! What first inspired you to wear Vintage? Were you a bit nervous about stepping out in your new Vintage Style? Did you start by wearing just a single vintages item or did you just go all the way with a complete outfit plus hair & make up?
Thanks
~Anita

A: Well I’ve been dressing in various versions of vintage style for over 25 years. My mother was a big inspiration for my general style. She was the most fabulous woman I’ve ever known and was always “put together”. She and I would go vintage and thrift shopping a lot in San Diego where I grew up. She was an actress/singer/performer and spent a lot of time with amazingly talented people in the entertainment industry. So that is what I grew up with. Later after my step-father passed away she met and dated a wonderful man who was a makeup artist for Warner Brothers Studios for almost 40 years. He was dear friends with some of the actors from Hollywood who I admired most from old films. I think being around that life and those people, really seeped into my soul. 

I was never one to follow the crowd or fall into fashion trends, so I think I was always a little different from my school mates and friends. I always loved the styles of the 1930s and 1940s and collected old magazines to gain inspiration. I was about 16 when I really started dressing in vintage style “full time”. As I mentioned before, my mom and I loved thrifting and vintage shopping so I already had some items in my wardrobe and I guess I just kept going with it. I was always interested in makeup in general and started working as a makeup artist when I was 19 or 20. My hair took a lot longer to figure out (I’m still learning). As I have naturally curly hair it took a lot of trial and error to figure out what to do with it and how to manipulate my hair to create the vintage styles and silhouettes I longed for.  

As for feeling nervous about my style, no that never really manifested. Of course I feel uncomfortable when people stare at me and I HATE it when they try and sneak photos of me – if you ask I will mostly likely say yes, but at least ask to take my photo, it’s just common courtesy. But I think having my mom as my mom really shaped how I feel about myself. She exuded confidence at all times and I’m so fortunate to have had her as a role model.

I will admit that I do feel a little “odd” when I’m out with my “muggle” friends – aka normal people who don’t dress in vintage – as I really stick out amongst them. But I’m not nervous or uncomfortable about it, just more aware of my existence, if that makes sense.   

Q: Do you also enjoy listening to the music of 40s-50s? Plus, do you furnish your home with vintage finds?
~Tracy

A: I do love music from the 40s and 50s, especially Jazz and Swing music. But I have incredibly eclectic musical tastes. I adore 80s and New Wave, Hard Rock, Irish Folk, Celtic, Showtunes, Pop, etc. Music has always been a big part of my life. My mother and grandfather were singers and performers and I even had a short stint as a singer in a duo when I was in my 20s. I pretty much have music on at all times when I’m at home. 

And for my home, yes I do furnish my home with vintage items. I live in a home built in 1904 with a lot of the original features. I do seem to prefer an older style for my home furnishings, and just like my musical tastes, it is very eclectic. I love the style of the Arts and Crafts movement and anything Art Deco. I also adore Art Nouveau, but it can be very expensive. I collect Disney items and memorabilia so a lot of my decor is also Disney related, but somehow it all works and looks great together. 

Q: What is your profession?
~Adalene

A: I am a licensed massage therapist, holistic esthetician and certified holistic health coach. I have been a massage therapist for 15 years and I have a small massage studio in my home where I see clients. Before I moved to Germany I owned and operated an award-winning holistic day spa in Baltimore, MD. Prior to becoming a massage therapist I worked in Marketing and Public relations for several firms in San Diego. I’ve worked in retail during all of my professions, usually having 2-3 jobs at a time. 

Most recently I have joined the team as the Features Editor for an upcoming online vintage magazine called, The Vintage Woman Magazine which will be launching in May 2019. I’m so fortunate to work alongside some amazing and inspiring women and I’m able to combine my talents with my passion for vintage style. 

Q: I love the way your photos look on your blog and Instagram. Who takes the photos for your blog posts? Are they a professional photographer or are you?
~ Julia

A: Usually for my blog photos, my darling (and patient) husband takes my photos. When he’s not available or I want to do a quick shoot, I just use my tripod in my backyard. Neither my husband nor myself are professionals when it comes to photography. We do have a great camera and have invested in a few really good lenses and we’ve learned a lot over the years about photography. We really enjoy learning about photography and hope to continue to take great photos. 

Q: How do you choose your photo locations?
~Celeste

A: Living in Europe there is no lack of amazing locations to shoot my photos. We generally bring a camera with us wherever we go and sometimes we just pull over when we see an especially beautiful spot just to take some photos. We travel quite a bit too so I’ll try and plan my blog posts around our travels or any events that we are attending. 

Q: We know that you are on the hunt for the perfect trouser, are there any other vintage items that you are searching for?
~Paige

A: Yes, the ever lasting search for the perfect trouser…I have a few now that I really like, but I’m still searching. I’m actually going to attempt to sew a pair for myself, we’ll see how that goes. 

I’m always on the hunt for true vintage items that actually fit me and flatter my shape. I recently found 2 Pendleton jackets on eBay in my size! I haven’t received them yet, so we’ll see how it goes. One thing that I would love to find (and honestly I doubt that it even exists) is a vintage knit set in my size. I have always loved the look of these sets and once I get good enough to knit one, I’m determined to make one for myself. 

This has been really fun, thank you again to all of you who sent in questions. Please continue to send me questions as they come up, I’m always happy to chat with you!!!

Love,

Christine

 

She’s Back!

As we don’t celebrate Christmas, we have an annual ritual of dressing up and going to see a movie. Can you guess what movie we saw this year????

You guessed it, Mary Poppins Returns. I have been (not so) patiently awaiting this movie. I loved the original and was really excited to see how they were going to continue the story. I’m not a fan of a “re-work” of original movies, especially Disney movies. But as this new movie is a sort of sequel or an additional tale, I was eager to see the movie and meet the new characters as well as be reacquainted with some old friends.

Also the movie is set in the 1930s, so of course I was looking forward to seeing how they incorporated the style into the movie. And I was not disappointed, the costumes were fantastic. So, today I decided to don an outfit inspired by the new Mary Poppins.

Hat ~ Vintage from The Mad Hat Lady
Blouse ~ Collectif
Bow Tie ~ Vintage from a large lot of ties on eBay
Sweater ~ Emmy Designs
Skirt ~ eShakti
Coat ~ Hell Bunny 
Gloves ~ Vintage from Prima Mona
Embroidered Purse ~ Vintage from Blackout 2, in London
Shoes ~ Hotter
Brooch ~ Kirbee Lawler