Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wearing Pretty


Before I tell you what I saw in the mall (you can guess) I want to share this memory of the ladies clothes that were so popular not too long ago. 
These are Laura Ashley clothes, but in the same era were similar designers going with this loose, feminine, comfortable style. Just wearing it made you feel adequately covered (but not frumpy or sloppy), confident and happy. The colors and prints were so harmonious with God's creation, whether or not it was intended. There was something very wholesome, sweet and yet serious about these clothes. They depicted dignity.
Do you ever wonder who dictates styles to us and who decided the women in this decade would not be able to find pretty clothing that also felt good to wear--clothing that was no nonsense but feminine?
Women still wear these clothes, because 25 years after the style was replaced, they are still in good condition.
There should be sewing patterns for the dresses in both the pictures here.
I wonder who decided there would be no more Victorian clothes available for women who preferred them, and why there are not more choices of  clothing of different eras. Some ladies do not like the unlovely, unflattering clothes that are presented in stores year after year.

This is another dress of the 1990's that would be suitable to wear today:
These clothes were made of high quality cotton and not of the synthetics we find in stores today. The garments did not cling and you didn't always have to be tugging at shoulders and waist. 

This was the first Laura Ashley pattern I ever owned. One thing that made these clothes so well liked was they suited women multi-generationally. Mothers, daughters and granddaughters all wore them and there was no special youth style section in the stores. The sizes were varied but the styles suited everyone and were liked by women all over the world.
This was an outfit in a 1990 Victoria Magazine that was hard to find,
But eventually I collected similar pieces from thrift stores and giveaways to create this set which I think exudes softness and sensibility:
Blouse: Goodwill, not worn, $5.00. It would have cost me quite a bit more back in the 1990's.
Cardigan: Walmart, $5.00. The Laura Ashley cardigan was originally 6 or 7 times the price or more.
Skirt: given to me from an estate sale. It is not a Laura Ashley brand but a very similar design, with tucks along the hem.
Slippers/shoes: $5.00 at WalMart.

One reason I did not own many Laura Ashley things was their price. Dresses were often $80.00 to a hundred dollars, so it made more sense to buy a pattern for home sewing.  However now these clothes are surfacing in the thrift shops at cheaper prices. It's just a pity they are not "in style," because now they are affordable.

I am happy to see many young women developing their own style and leaving the current fashions behind. No one should allow the current trends to dictate the way they dress.

We have not been to a mall in years, but decided to walk through one this week. The place was almost a ghost town, with many shops empty.  

The window displays were as you see here:

Is all this supposed to be pretty?

My husband asked how anyone could think this is pretty on a woman.
There were certainly no admiring gazes from passers-by. Young women were not giving any of it a longing look. They are tired and bored of it all. It has been the same old torn clothing for several decades has it not?  Yet someone keeps pushing this style.

When almost every woman learned how to sew, they had more control over the fashion. I realize not everyone can or wants to sew anymore, but there are still alternatives to this wretched mess. Many of the prettier clothes have gone to catalogs:

Blair Catalog


The Paragon Catalogue

Aloha Outlet Catalog



The ugly clothes have been prominent for so long that ladies feel silly and out of sorts when wearing anything pretty.

Maybe one of the reasons so many shops in the mall have moved out is due to lack of selling those boring, drab things that women have had to wear and look at for so many years. 

There is no reason we cannot change the fashion by wearing lovely blouses like this:

More Laura Ashley from Etsy and EBay.  

From an older catalog:
The style was loved equally by girls and grandmothers. I often saw families in church sitting together with the women wearing these cheerful dresses.  No one made fun of them like they do today: they were high fashion and very expensive.
These next pictures are from the recent April Cornell catalog:


A pattern I am going to order online:  many of these dresses were made of fine wale cordoroy or polished cotton or cotton velveteen.
Patterns I am going to order.



Issue of Victoria with the Laura Ashley fashions:
More Laura Ashley:

Spring Blossom Teacup and Saucer


Today I am featuring the Spring Blossom teacup by Royal Albert, which seems to be a painting of the flowering plum ornamental trees that blossom for a brief time in March and April.
I own one cup and saucer. I found the cup at Goodwill and the saucer somewhere else. The China set is available in new condition, and is not what I would consider an antique.  All of my teacups are regularly used. This one below is from the web, showing matching dinnerware.  Ladies still collect these pieces for their family China to use for special occasions.

 Out here in Oregon the pieces are not easy to find. I keep asking my driver to go with me to find a small town that may have a shop where I can find more of this.  Yes, I do drive, but my driver has an innate sense of direction and never gets lost. Around here we cannot always rely on maps and gps as they do not keep up with the changes in roads and routes.  

My driver does not like me going to far away on my own so we pack up our tea basket and go on little excursions to find my elusive tea cups. We often return empty handed with only photos of the road. That is what the daffodils by the side of the road picture was all about in the previous post.
Here is the flowering plum ornamental tree like the painting on the teacup.



A couple of years ago I sewed a dress to "go with" these trees and made a fascinator. (Picture to come).  




Detail of Thimas Kinkade painting featuring the flowering plum ornamental tree:
Below are the ones in my yard.
A close-up of the blossoms:

Hair comb fascinator made from a sprig of artificial blossoms from the dollar store:
Dress to go with:



Monday, March 27, 2017

Lily of the Valley Teacup


Today I am featuring my only Lily of the Valley teacup. The other cups you see further down on the page are from the web.
This one has a pearlescent glaze and was part of a cup of the month series, made in Japan in the 1960's. Some may have been made in the 1950's.  It is interesting how prolific the teacup industry was  even in the "modern" era of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Brides were still "choosing their China patterns" from Royal Albert. It was of great importance, if you remember, so these cups were being produced new, at the time.
It is a footed cup.
Lily of the Valley is likened to Christ, in the Bible, along with the Rose of Sharron.  

This is a painting by Paul de Longpre, a French man who lived in California, perhaps best known for his yard long paintings of flowers. His son followed in his artistic footsteps.
More lily of the valley cups from the web:





Lily of the Valley fabric from an artist, Paula Arndt, from Spoonflower, a site that produces fabric from art and photos.
It is not necessary to find rare antique cups with the pattern of your choice. New cups are created with the same artwork, and you can find them at places like Roses and Teacups online.

From Pinterest: 
Lily of the Valley is one of the preferred flowers for wedding bouquets in royal weddings in England:



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