Concluding Downton Abbey: Maids and Mystery Food

One thing is for sure. If I ever watch Downton Abbey season 2, I’ll brew a large thermos of strong coffee, pack some snacks, close the door behind me and watch the entire series in one sitting. That way, I’ll be immersed for only one day instead of an entire week.

You would probably think that Downton Abbey influenced the above outfit. True; but only partially so, because it’s also one of my more common winter outfits when I’m tired of  “lounge-wear”.

Don’t I look a bit like a maid having a day off? Well, maybe not a maid working at Downton Abbey, but rather a smaller mansion with more humble means.

My underskirt is a simple hand-sewn t-shirt skirt with a big ruffle. I wear this one often in winter under my other skirts, when a single layer jersey isn’t warm enough. Surprisingly, 2 or 3 layers of t-shirt skirts are pretty cozy.

The boots are my beloved ancient thrifted Campers and the hand-warmers are made from thrifted t-shirts as well. The wool jacket is so old that it’s “Made in Italy”. Comfort is king of course, so the entire outfit stretches in all directions – a lovely improvement from the early 1900s when most women were wearing corsets.

I’m also experimenting with new recipes. Yesterday, I cooked a dish that looks exactly like pulled pork, but I don’t eat meat and it is not tofu.

What does it look like to you? Take a guess. Curious….am I the only one who didn’t know about this dish?


Peeks into my Closet – From Karl’s Clothes to Vintage Flowers

Let’s talk wardrobe. 

My favorite garments have a story to tell. 

When I first saw this coat it was hanging in the window of a somewhat unremarkable second hand shop in my hometown in Germany. It was 1986. The color (haha) was perfect and I thought it would be great to wear with boots and black tights. I fell in love. This coat was meant for me.

When buying second hand clothing, a look at the label is crucial (just like when buying food these days). There are many garments that look wonderful, but feature some mystery fiber, which behaves unpredictably in the washing machine and requires one to keep a deodorant handy at all times.

A look at the label made me gasp, and my heart beat faster. Karl Lagerfeld, it said. OMG, I thought to myself, I’ll never be able to afford that. It was 50DM (Deutsche Mark), which would be roughly USD25 and the price was not negotiable. You’re going to laugh, but at the time it seemed so EXPENSIVE. I was 19 and didn’t have 50 Mark, but only 20 which I gave to the clerk. The coat stayed in the store for a whole other week.

I still wear this coat. It has been traveling and living with me for 25 years and will not retire anytime soon. Having a relationship with what I wear is important to me. I’ll spare you more background stories, but instead show you another one of my favorites:

This skirt is made from recycled charcol and midnight blue suiting wool, pleated and patched with raw edged cotton squares. Here’s a close up, I thought it could inspire my friends who are playing with refashioning ideas?

When I wear it, the skirt makes me resemble Mary Poppins, but as she was really cool, I don’t mind.

The coat below is by Carolina Herrera, bought at a local thrift shop not long ago for $1,50. (It was $3, but it was 50% off). Its a silk cotton blend, made in Italy and impeccably tailored. It fits like a glove:

Last for now, here’s one of my “going-to-a-movie-in-summer” flower dresses:
Here’s a word about labels… I really don’t care about them. What I do care about is that my clothes are well constructed, timeless, beautiful and inexpensive. They also shouldn’t fall apart after a year or two. The merchandise from most big department stores don’t meet these standards.  Admittedly there’s also the bargain hunter’s pride for a fantastic deal. Believe me, I also have many schmattes in my closet, which will be introduced at a later time.
I live in the country side (I just say Land’s End), so dressing up is not an everyday affair. My “weekday” attire looks more like this. It’s all jersey and stretchy and wonderfully comfortable with layers to spare for the unpredictable North East weather.

Why am I showing you all this second hand stuff from my closet? Because I’m doing a premature spring cleaning while waiting for a snow storm to hit. It’s nice to take stock and this is what I came up with: 70% is second hand, 10% is hand-sewn, 10% is store bought and new, the remaining 10% are gifts or hand-me-downs.

It helps that I live in a college town with an Ivy League school where students with lots of cash recycle fantastic, almost new clothes. Second hand or vintage shopping is my preferred source as there’s a limited, but special selection to choose from, which make even a Gap sweater seem one of a kind. It’s also usually a third of the original price (or less) and what’s not to like about that?

Now I’m curious, how does your closet look and where do your clothes come from?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...