The weather was commiserating with me by cloaking itself in grey and sending some little black rain clouds my way. I had to run an errand in town, hoping against hope that being out and about would cheer me up.
Now, my hometown isn't the least bit exciting. It's the kind of place which is neither a village nor a town. If it was still somewhat rural back in the 1960s and 1970s, it had grown too big for its boots when I returned after 13 years of living in the big city.
Butchers, bakers and grocers have upped and left one by one until only an inadequate handful of essential shops remain in the High Street, the others replaced by the usual chains stores which seem to have colonized all Belgian High Streets. The only plus is that there are now two bookshops where before there were none.
There are a couple of small boutiques as well, and it is to one of them that I seemed to be drawn like a moth to a flame. Looking left and then right to check that I wasn't being followed by the vintage fashion police, I gingerly stepped inside, and promptly fell in love with a skirt!
Yes, dear readers, I did succumb to the lure of the sales. But don't tell anyone, please! It's our secret, right?
But look at that plaid pattern, which is such a classic! Surely this calls for a little jig! I love its midi length, which against all rules I do think suits my petite frame. And there's enough fabric for a twirl or two!
As I wanted to share my naughty buy with you, I waited until the weekend to wear it. I've included a close-up of the fabric, and the wide self belt which came with the skirt. As the belt is a bit floppy and wouldn't stay in place, I opted for a tan leather belt, which you can see below.
First wear this season of my beloved belted tweed jacket, which I accompanied with a blue beret and - again! - my frilly turquoise scarf. It is my current favourite, and perfect for the mild weather we continued to have.
You can catch a glimpse of my curry opaques and the navy booties I'm wearing.
Let me show you what's underneath, which was a chocolate brown cardigan edged in ochre yellow, layered on top of a blouse which I will show and tell you about in a moment.
First things first though! I couldn't resist sneaking in a peek at my vintage slip, one of a couple I charity shopped in the holidays. They both belonged to the same elderly lady who, as testified by the name tags, must have been residing in a nursing home. As they were both crisp and pristine as well as squeaky clean, I didn't mind taking them home, tags and all.
When I returned to work, Think Twice's sales were in full flow and down to € 4. I pounced on this vintage C&A blouse, with its frilly collar and yoke.
In my mind's eye, I could already see it paired with the plaid skirt and, for once, my mind's eye was right. It was a perfect match!
Its high collar called for a brooch, so I added the chunky green glass one I bought in a vintage shop in Middelburg back in November.
In the close-up on the top right, you can see the gold thread which is enhancing the neutral colours of the plaid.
The lovely ochre yellow beaded necklace was part of a late birthday present from my friend Ingrid, which she gave me on New Year's Eve. She'd also crocheted a pair of blue and yellow pot holders to tie in with our kitchen's colour scheme. And then there was a crochet covered clothes hanger which I'll be using to display some of my most precious necklaces.
Phoebe immediately claimed the wrapping paper, which we still haven't been able to take away from her. For some strange, unfathomable reason only cats understand, she loves lying on it.
It was still uncharacteristically warm that first weekend of January. And no, I haven't just thrown in some photos of last Summer's flowers to cheer you up on a miserably grey January day. These flowers, and many more, were still rearing their little heads in the vicarage garden earlier this month!
There was no let-up in the rain, so any walking was off the cards. Instead, and for want of a better thing to do, we did some charity shopping. Oh well, needs must!
I love browsing the nightwear and lingerie rails and couldn't resist this vintage quilted dressing gown with its pretty design of floral baskets and hearts, and its frilly nylon trim at the collar and cuffs.
This velvety hot pink (Sheila would say PANK) jacket still had its tags on, showing its original price of € 89,95. It was mine for € 6 and will make a nice change from my regular denim jacket next Summer. Not only was it a perfect fit, I thought it went rather well with this skirt, which was another one of my Think Twice bargains from the week before.
My final Think Twice buy was this forest green maxi dress, with a print of pale green and purple diamonds interspersed with lilac Paisley motifs. I picked up the splashes of lilac by adding my 1980s lilac belt, but I'm not convinced that it works. I will have to style it differently - and wear it myself! - soon.
It's been a manic couple of weeks, what with work related issues, and our weekends still partly taken up by clearing and cleaning the parental home ready for sale. Hence, blog posting might be a little erratic, but please bear with me, as I will return to my usual schedule shortly.
I'm leaving you now with what might possibly be the most hilarious piece of shell art work I've ever come across in a charity shop.
Linking my plaid outfit to Nancy's Fancy Friday and Tina's Pink Friday.
That owl is brilliant! Ha!ReplyDelete
Well I can certainly see why you felt you needed that skirt. I really love how you've paired the plaid with plaid. This is one of my favourites of yours, top to bottom. All of the elements aren't matchy matchy at all and yet they work together so well. Like you I'm petite and also prefer longer skirts. I think they can be quite elongating.
Too funny how Phoebe loves the wrapping paper.
Thanks, Suzanne. I must say I was quite pleased about how this outfit worked out myself. Phoebe's easily pleased, give her some wrapping paper or a box and she's happy! xxxDelete
That shell art work is totally owlsome! Ha! ;) Your plaid skirt is fabulous and looks gorgeous with the blouse you paired it with. That maxi dress is so pretty. I love the purples and of course the paisley! Phoebe is so cute! It's so funny how cats need to be in the middle of everything! Amber is no exception! Hope you're having a lovely weekend, Ann. XXXReplyDelete
Thank you, Sasha! Owlsome is the right word ;-) xxxDelete
Cats are just plain weird!ReplyDelete
The plaid skirt is fabulous! What a terrific buy and I love the colours and plaid. The plaid blouse goes so well with it and I love the beads; I have very similar ones.
Loved your dressing gown; I've found some wonderful things on the lingerie rails in the past and, like you, always have a look.
The maxi dress is gorgeous! What fab colours and it's got paisley in it which is always a bonus. It's going to look fabulous on you.
I expect you're back at work a while now and your break seems a long time ago - never mind there's always the weekends to look forward to. Hope the weather has cheered up for you - ours is cold and gloomy...
Have a great week!
Thanks Veronica! I keep on finding similar quilted dressing gowns and can never resist bringing them home! xxxDelete
I love the skirt. Don't feel guilty! I also like the length too and it's great mixed with the plaid blouse, I like the pattern mix xxReplyDelete
Thank you Laurie! xxxDelete
This outfit is brilliant, Ann! I love plaid on plaid, the vibrant colors of your new skirt, the yellow beads resonating with the cardigan stripes, and of course your delightful vintage slip - what a beauty, so glad that you showed it!ReplyDelete
I think we should really celebrate our choices, as well as choices of others. Guilt and shame are most damaging feelings, and I wish we could all unlearn feeling guilty about our own choices and shaming others for theirs. You are a WONDERFUL woman with such a beautiful closet which brings joy to your heart, no matter where the items came from. Keep creating all these beautiful moments and sharing them with us!
I love your writing too, it is full of genuine feelings. It was interesting to read about your home town. I think the place we live is also somewhere between a town and a village, most people call it suburbia these days which sounds really disrespectful to my ear. The place we live in has a long (for our part of the world) history and a group of enthusiasts do their best to preserve this slice of history for us and future generations. All things and places and people matter, and big cities aren't more significant than small places like ours, and the majority of our planet population probably live in places like ours, not in big cities. I think really it is all in the way we look at things.
Sending you warmest hugs, dear friend, and enough energy to complete all your work! <3
Thanks for your sweet words, Natalia. Some day, I'll do a post on my home town, which unfortunately hasn't changed for the better ... xxxDelete
I love your tartan skirt! Well, as a Scot I'm always partial to a wee bit of tartan!ReplyDelete
I was quite sure you'd like the tartan skirt, Liz ;-) xxxDelete
The owl shell piece is a little scary actually, haha! But I do love your tartan skirt, it's beautiful and I can see why you had to have it. It is a really nice length on you and looks lovely in your outfit :)ReplyDelete
Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend :) Our summer heatwave is continuing, today we are just resting at home in the aircon!
Away From The Blue Blog
I thought the owl was a little scary too, Mica. Obviously, we didn't buy it, although I felt a bit gutted when we revisited that shop last weekend and found it was gone :-) xxxDelete
I too love your tartan skirt! What a find! I love how you have styled it with more plaid. The first photo with 2 of you in it made me smile.ReplyDelete
Thank you Linda! I thought the photo didn't look right on its own, and then I hit upon the idea ... xxxDelete
that shell owl is rather spooky, did his gaze follow you around the shop?ReplyDelete
The tartan skirt is lovely, there's nothing wrong with the odd high street purchase, but I'm happy to keep your secret ;)
Cats seem to like sitting on anything that's inconvenient for their humans. Tink is currently sitting on my arm, so i'm typing one handed.
Indeed I'm sure his gaze did follow us around the shop, Hazel. I couldn't get away from him fast enough ;-) xxxDelete
wowww, love your tartan skirt and it goes so nicely with the frilly blouse! and so cute vintage slip (sassiness!!)ReplyDelete
Lovely pictures of those flowers blooming madly in the middle of January. There is also an unseasonably warm weather here!
And Phoebe looks adorable. Isn't it amazing how much cats love paper and boxes, whatever the reason!
Love the Hot Pink Jacket (totally PUNK) and the fab maxi dress (those purple details!). And totally agree on the shell owl, it's hilarious!!
Thank you Monica! Obviously that vintage slip was too good to hide away ... xxxDelete
hahahaa - love that owl!!ReplyDelete
soso - you bought a brand new skirt - from a fast fashion shop! ts. sadly - the thing suits you very well! ;-D
and you have created a very cool ensemble with it!
here we have lots of sun and temps between -5 & -10°C.....
Guilty as charged, Beate! I could almost hear you and Suzanne admonishing me when I took it to the till ;-) xxxDelete
I love your wonderful plaid skirt - midi circle skirts tend to be outrageously comfy and strangely flattering, even on us short gals. That PANK jacket is awesome - Jackpot is a brand I see here often. I adore the purple maxi - I like the lilac belt with it!ReplyDelete
Thank you darling! I guess Jackpot's been around for a while. We had a shop here in Antwerp which sold the brand back in the late 80s, early 90s. I remember a floral top I got from them. xxxDelete
You look stunning in this skirt Ann. And this sale blouse is great. Cats are in love with wrapping paper, my mums cat Blacky loves it too.:)ReplyDelete
A very huge hug Tina
Thank you so much Tina! xxxDelete
I for one am not judging your a fabulous new retail purchase. That tartan plaid skirt is yummy. The sweater is too fabulous and the overall outfit makes me want to do a jig as well.ReplyDelete
I love the forest green and purple dress as well. I am sorry that your town is like so many others. Dominated by retail chains and not much in the way of smaller boutiques. But how wonderful for you to have two bookstores!
Wonderful PANK jacket !
Thank you Elle. When we considered buying a house here, the two bookstores were a selling point! xxxDelete
If you hadn't mentioned it, I'd have thought the plaid skirt was vintage-it is such perfection. The robe is amazing-and probably very warm. How I wish they made such charming quilted robes today. The seashell owl will haunt my dreams. As the kids say, "Thanks fior sharing-I hate it!"ReplyDelete
I actually photographed the owl especially for you, Goody! Thought you'd appreciate it! xxxDelete
That owl made me chuckle! Not quite at the standard of the Shell House Hermitage. I love your check skirt. I have a thing about '70s style a-line midi skirts at the moment. I don't gave a check one, yet. Good luck with the rest of the house sorting, it' s a big job. XReplyDelete
They actually had at least one owl at the Shell House Hermitage as well, if I remember correctly. But this one would definitely look out of place! xxxDelete
I do love long plaid (tartan, to me 😉)skirts. It looks great on you, I love the beret too.ReplyDelete
I'm quite tall at 5'8" and I love longer skirts, makes vintage ones difficult to find, they're never quite long enough.
Good luck with a successful house sale, I hope the sorting through everything is going smoothly. xxx
Thank you Sally! I'd been looking for a similar skirt for a while, but it's hard to find decent vintage ones, even for someone vertically challenged as me ;-) xxDelete
You've got some great pieces there - and if the skirt is calling you, why not buy it? You'll work it into loads of outfits; it's not like you've gone for a paper-thin 'wear it twice' T-shirt.ReplyDelete
I'd never come across Sheila before but have now added her to my blogroll.
Phoebe looks very cosy on her paper. Cats really are little oddballs.
Phoebe definitely is a "little" oddball. Glad to have introduced you to Sheila. I've been following her for quite a while now. I think I found her via Curtise! xxxDelete
You must always, always answer the call! That skirt is fabulous and SO you.ReplyDelete
That shell owl is mad and just a little terrifying!
I'll keep that in mind, Gisela! I've no idea why I've become so reluctant to buy retail. It's not as if I'm buying cheap tat, anyway. The skirt was actually made in France! xxxDelete
I’ve got a vintage quilted dressing gown that I picked up in York a couple of years ago. I feel like I’ve stepped out of a Hollywood musical when I’m wearing it hahaReplyDelete
You wear tartan so well Ann xxx
Thank you, my friend! If buying a vintage quilted dressing gown is what it takes to feel glamorous, then bring it on! xxxDelete