Category: Fashion

It’s only Lindy Bop (Lana) but I like it…

As I may have mentioned, it was my birthday on Sunday. I had requested a visit to Grand Cafe (http://www.grand-cafe.co.uk/home) in Southampton. It’s just over the road from where we live and I have been angling to get inside for months now! I walk past it all the time and I am a sucker for an old building. Southampton was pretty decimated in World War Two and it’s lovely old buildings are few and far between, often flanked by some nasty 70s concrete flats. Peeking through the (rather high) windows I could see lovely fabrics, nice hanging lamps and the odd bit of cutlery, but could never get a proper look. This had to be rectified!

Grand Cafe

We decided to go there for Afternoon Tea. Mostly because of cake. And tea. And cake. Did I mention cake? I love the fact that we Brits invented a meal around those two glorious things. I thought I might use it as an excuse to wear one of my new Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/lana-playful-polka-dot-50s-style-dress-with-cinch-waist-bel-p858) dresses.

It was served on vintage china, which was a lovely first impression. I ordered a big pot of Assam and Dr P got a coffee pot.

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It was beautifully decorated for Christmas, everything seemed to sparkle, including the crooning gentleman that entertained us for the first hour or so.

GC afternoon tea

When the Dr made the reservation he told the staff I was a pescatarian so they had kindly given us lots of cheese, egg and salmon sandwiches and just a few Italian ham sandwiches for Dr P. I did sample all of the sandwiches, but left the lion’s share for the Dr as I was impatient to get on to the sweet delights. We had 2 scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam of course) each plus cakes, tartlets and nougat. I must admit I was defeated and only managed half of my cupcake even though it was deliciously light and bouncy. Everything was very tasty and the service was great. And of course it’s not like I had just spent two weeks filling my face with mince pies, Quality Street and Toblerone. Oh no!

I insisted on a few snaps of my Lindy Bop ‘Lana’ dress as we left:

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I loved the weight of the dress – it’s a really nice thick cotton mix, perfect for this time of year (It was quite chilly!) and the skirt is a good length, with a full lining. It was a great fit on my bust, torso and waist and my only criticism would be that the belt doesn’t quite work. I didn’t feel secure that it would stay in one place as the little elasticated bands were quite big for the buttons they looped round, plus it bunched and creased a little when I sat down – but that may be to do with my oddly shaped tummy! It’s easily fixed by using one of my many stretchy belts…

I accessorised this divine dotty creation with a little roll and a dark red hairband in my hair, my beloved Retro Peepers (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) specs, a slick of Besame (http://besamecosmetics.eu) Dark Cherry lipstick, a little black shrug and of course, some Irregular Choice (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HpYgqcWpL._SX395_.jpg) shoes! The piece de resistance was my necklace – a birthday gift from Dr P – a tiny silver custard cream from Lily Charmed (http://www.lilycharmed.com):

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All in all, it was a lovely day, a lovely dress and a lovely meal.

It is with an ever expanding waistline I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Lindy Bop but I like it…

I knew I was getting some Lindy Bop dresses for Christmas but I left it entirely up to Dr P which ones he chose. It was with some trepidation that I let that happen, but in many ways, the fact that he chose them made them more special. Also, when you see these bad boys, you will see what great choices he made…

On Christmas day there were 3 flat squishy packages waiting for me and I’m going to share them with you over a couple of posts. I decided to use their arrival as the inspiration for some weight loss, which was successful not least due to a delightful chest infection and cold that was presented to me for the duration of the last week of term! I felt so rotten I ate hardly anything and that shifted the last couple of pounds to help me fit nicely into a size 14. I’m very happy.

The first dress I opened was the Ophelia in red (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/search/ophelia):

I decided to wear it on Christmas day. I was busy cooking Christmas lunch and opening a mountain of presents – my Mum loves Christmas and is so generous! – so there are not any decent photos from the day. Dr P took these for me when we got home.

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As you can see it’s a great fit around my torso and I just love the ruched detail at the bust. I was worried it might be too low cut but it’s not at all. It’s a bit crumpled here as it had been packed after I ironed it, but it did iron up beautifully when I first unpacked it.

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I accessorised it with a jammy dodger biscuit necklace from The Jewellery Junkee (https://www.facebook.com/TheJewelleryJunkee?fref=ts) that Mum put in my stocking, these Irregular Choice (http://www.irregularchoice.com/shop/) low heeled shoes and of course my beloved Retro Peepers  (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) Peggy specs.

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The dress is lovely quality and as I said I loved the detailing on the bodice. The fit around my waist was perfect it worked well without a petticoat – I’ll let you know how it works with one! It has one zip to the rear which is good quality – I hate a sticky zip!

All in all, I think this worked as a fantastic Christmas dress and is brilliant for parties or a more casual Christmas Day dress.

(Oh, and by the way – Happy New Year!)

It is with a playful swish I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Hat but I like it…

I’ve been so good at updating twice a week until now. Last weekend I was in Wales for Mum’s Hen Do, and before I could make my way back to the south, Dr P left for a week in Bordeaux to attend a conference. The combination of Hen Do and a busy, uninspiring week alone left me without inspiration or motivation to post, but today, with the return of my boy all is well with the world and I am back!

I’d like to share a little find I made in Wales. The nearest town – and I use the word loosely, because it’s tiiiiny – is a place called Builth Wells. It’s mostly known for the being the place they hold the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. Anyway, mum had a few errands to run on Saturday morning so we had a little wander around the town. Despite its small stature, it has a couple of well stocked shops when it comes to knick-knacks and clothing. I found this lovely (www.nomadsclothing.com ) dress there a couple of summers ago:

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So anyway, we nipped into Penelope Primrose (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penelope-Primrose/298054093544183) and the range of gifts was really lovely. I could have made so many purchases! There were lots of Christmas related items and my Mum made several purchases for stockings, but I am sworn to secrecy on those! I spent ages examining and trying on some stunning silver spinning rings, but it’s that time of year when I feel guilty buying things for myself! I did treat myself to a bar of this through…
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The NomNom spiced pear chocolate is super delish – it’s not pieces of crystallised pear as I expected, but a scrummy layer of spiced pear jam in plain chocolate. Absolutely to die for. I purchased another flavoured bar to put in Dr P’s stocking, so I will tell you more about that later! As you know, I love anything that is handmade and always try to support independent businesses so I was happy to find this and even happier to review it here. I’ve contacted NomNom and asked if I can review some other flavours – here’s hoping!

So, I had dodged the buying of jewellery and was feeling guilt free on my NomNom purchases, on account of them being a small company and needing my support (nothing to do with wanting to eat their chocolate of course!) and I was making my way out of the door when…

I saw it.

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Teal is my true love when it comes to colours and this cute cloche style of hat from http://majorwear.co.uk/two-two/  is something I have always liked but never felt suited me. Well, let me tell you, it was on my head within seconds and on finding a mirror I was smitten. The man behind the counter said it matched my coat perfectly, the confirmation of the fact that the hat cost a mere £19.99 made my mind up for me and my feet found the way to the till to seal the deal.

I’m in love and I will take some better photos soon… I hope you agree it’s a winner and very vintage in it’s styling?

I think the (very obvious) moral of the story here is to shop in local shops, support new businesses and you will find a stunning hat. It’s just a shame that it’s that time of year when I’m supposed to be buying things for other people – oops!

It is with a slight sense of guilt I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only (Faux) Fur but I like it…

I have a dream. I am dreaming of a winter outfit that I can wear to my Mum’s wedding on the 27th December. I have bought the dress – a delicious offering from Collectif that I feel a million dollars in. I am gutted I can’t show you, but I really want it to be a surprise on the day. The wedding is in Wales and the service is taking place in a tiny stone Church which is just a few doors down from my Mum’s house. Which is the house she grew up in and the house I knew as my Grandparent’s home.

I have a dream of a fur stole. Not a fur coat, just a stole or cape. A sliver of softness and warmth around my shoulders.

So I began my search. I tried the high street, and there are quite a few options but I didn’t feel the styling went with my vintage inspired dress. So I tried eBay. And I revelled in a host of beautiful options, lovely shapes, patterns and shades. But there was one big snag. Most of the vintage furs were real fur. So I searched for the faux furs and they just weren’t as nice. I had a long debate with Dr P and we decided it wasn’t ethical to wear real fur. I became despondent. Where was I going to find this item?

Now a little while ago I saw advertised in Southampton some Drive-in Movies organised by the people from Yellow Vintage Fairs. I squealed, messaged my sister, Mrs JMP(http://mrsjmp.wordpress.com ) and soon we were the proud owners of tickets to see Elf in December. These tickets came with entry to their vintage fair on November 30th too.

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As it happened, my Mum and two of her friends were visiting that weekend so we resolved to take them along.

A chilly Sunday dawned and all my plans to dress up 40s style melted into Just. Wanting. To. Be. Warm. I put on a thick pair of jeans, long sleeved top, thick cardi, coat and scarf. A decision I didn’t regret for a minute.

The event didn’t disappoint. I began my quest for fur as soon as I arrived and there were lots to choose from. Mrs JMP and I even found this little fella – head, legs and claws still attached!

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If I needed any more confirmation – which I didn’t – I could not wear real fur. Ever.

My Mum and I found these fetching numbers. I’m a fan of the turban and I think I can definitely pull it off! My Mum said she had a hat like this in white that she wore to a wedding in the 60s. Amazing!

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We took a much needed break for tea and cake and Mrs JMP and I did some skiing in front of the backdrop.

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Having chatted, discussed and reminisced (“Gran had that china!” “I had one of those when I was a little girl!”) we all headed back into the fray, to the sweet strains of the lovely ladies singing Andrews sisters classics, and made our purchases. I found and bought a lovely faux fur cape and a vintage handbag too. Both are perfect… But I can’t show you. It’s seriously killing me! I tried the whole outfit on just now and it’s everything I wanted it to be. Can’t wait to wear it.

So I have been on a journey. A journey of fashion. A journey of self discovery. A journey of ethics. A journey of finding new weasely friends. And it was a joy my friends!

It is with a love of animals I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only the Festive Season but I like it…

Do you know I am so loving being back in the UK and having seasons? Literally, consciously loving it. And of course, we are fast approaching the party season. That time when there are lots of social events. Well, if I’m honest, I’ll have a couple of things and none of them very big or posh. But still. I’ll have a work do, and, not having worked there very long, I kind of want to make a statement. The work do is a chance (in my mind anyway) to show the side of you that you don’t really show so much at work. I want to be vintage, I want to look nice, I want to be me.

So it was time for a little online shopping. This is my round up of frocks for the party season – hold on to your hats!

For starters, I’d head over to What Katie Did and grab myself some shapewear – probably this underbust corset to give me a nice smooth silhouette. ( http://www.whatkatiedid.com/product/687/vintage-1950%92s-satin-glamour-zip-underbust-girdle)

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Collectif ( www.collectif.co.uk ) has a few treats in store for us, of course:

 Dolores dress polka red new

This Dolores red polka dot wiggle dress is fun and perfect for parties.

 Dolores Doll Cherry Stem Black New

I love, love, love the Dolores Cherry Stem and I could wear a big poofy petticoat too!

As for Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk ), this Grace swing dress in cranberry is so cute with the little bow! It reminds me of a line from Mad Men about a Joan Holloway dress where her bow makes her look ‘like a Christmas gift’. I mean who doesn’t want Joan as their style icon?

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I also adore this Myrtle halterneck – it would seem I’m all about the red this year! The shape of that bust and the button detail is just delish!

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I’m also drawn to this black silk number called Gina. I’ve never a had black dress but this looks so luxuriant – I’m sure I’d feel a million dollars in it…

Lindy Bop Gina

Of course, if I was looking to spend a bit more, I’d love a Vivian Of Holloway (http://www.vivienofholloway.com ) dress and this black satin with purple stars number would be very charming.

VoH purple stars

I thought writing this post would help me find a dress, but actually i think it’s made it harder to choose! What would you go for? Or have you spotted some more delights on your travels?

It is with a dress-addled brain I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s Only Workwear but I like it…

*Disclaimer: All images of me were taken by my TA Mo. Mo has many talents. Photography is not one of them.*

Autumn has definitely arrived here in Britain and having spent the last few years in the desert my tolerance to the cold has massively diminished.

This said, I have turned my attentions to how I’m going to stay warm and vintage during the week when I’m at work. I work in a Primary School so I need to look fairly smart, but also be able to take part in practical activities (papier mache, singing assemblies,PE etc).

As mentioned in a previous post I have only one Lindy Bop dress (as of now ;-)) and it’s this teal lovely which is still available on their website( http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/shelley-vintage-1950s-blue-style-peter-pan-collar-rockabilly-swing-jive-dress-p202 ).

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And here’s a dodgy selfie in my dimly lit bedroom. I like to wear it with a black cinch belt and black flats. I’m afraid I don’t wear heels to work – it can be unpleasant enough without the distraction of a burning sensation in the balls of my feet!

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It’s not machine washable but it has survived a hand wash and flat dry. I love the colour and style and the cute spotted scarf detail at the neck. A firm favourite.

This grey Collectif (www.collectif.co.uk ) dress has been mine since my visit to their Brighton store. I feel lovely in it. I do not look very lovely in this photo, but I was in the middle of teaching written multiplication methods… so, I think I can be forgiven!

collectif gray dress

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And finally, another Collectif purchase – their Franky Swing Trousers(https://www.collectif.co.uk/plain-franky-swing-trousers-p-c09110206-c-black.html ). I tried these on in the shop and loved the high waist and how they made me look. Again, these photos don’t really do much for me, but I look less grumpy at least!

Franky Swing Trousers

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These are made of a lovely thick material and are a super wide leg trouser. They have a very high vintage style waist. I’m a bit self conscious in them, worried my tummy shows up too much, but they are so warm and very comfy. I’ve teamed them up with a paperclip print blouse, blue cardi and ankle boots.

So, these are the beauties that will keep me snugly this festive season. They will add a little vintage glamour to my busy days and help me feel like me. They will remind me that there is more to me than just ‘Miss’ who works 10 hour days and ploughs through 60 books at the end of every day…

It is with a weary sigh I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lindy Bop but I like it…

Many of my friends are getting cross with me on Facebook. You see I keep posting photo after photo of delicious dresses. No, it’s not a vintage malady but the fault of Lindy Bop (www.lindybop.co.uk) who have been giving away a dress a day on Facebook for a Few weeks now. To be in the running to win it all you have to do is ‘like’ and ‘share’ the image.

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I do try not to ‘share’ too many things of personal interest on Facebook but these dresses are just too hard to resist! The thought of winning one.. Well, it fair sets my heart a-racing!

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I’ve had several friends comment on the dresses and how nice they are. My fried Rona said she was checking out the website as soon as she was back from holiday!

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The range of dresses is certainly impressive – everyday wear, work wear and super glam party dresses. I’m impressed with the prices too, most of the range comes in at around the £30 mark! Definitely affordable…

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I only own one Lindy Bop dress as of now – this teal beauty (I LOVE teal) which I wear to work. It’s a fab fit and teamed with a black cinch belt looks smart and vintage. Massive win!

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I may have subtly pointed the Dr in the direction of the website, and he made some purchases for Christmas. So, even if I don’t win a dress on Facebook, I’ll be a winner come Christmas Day!

It is with the hope of a winning streak I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Collectif but I like it…

You may be noticing a recurring theme here – Collectif (www.collectif.co.uk)!

I just can’t help myself and what with it being half term, I took little jaunt into Brighton. I, of course, chose the rainiest day this week for my excursion. I scurried off the train and down into the North Laines, quickly ensconcing myself in Waikika Moo Kau to share a delicious Vegetarian Mezze with one of my oldest and bestest friends. We then had a wander and inevitably ended up in the lovely Collectif store. I tried on some wide leg trousers and tried to determine if I liked them, if they suited me and if I could wear them to work. More on that to follow!

Today I’m sharing a bargainous find! I had a good root through the sale stock up on the mezzanine (I’ve been lucky there before!) and found this beauty:

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I found it, I stroked it, my friend said it was flattering, and the fact that it was almost 50% off was a clincher!

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I wasn’t wearing vintage clothes for these snaps I’ll be honest – but I do think the teaming of my Tatty Devine (www.tattydevine.com)initial necklace and the coat is a winner. I’m also lucky enough to live a 2 minute walk from this yacht festooned harbour! I told the Dr I’d pick one out and he could pop it in my stocking. He seemed unconvinced…

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Being a shop soiled item, it had lost it’s belt, so I bought 2m of ribbon this morning for the princely sum of 90p. I’m not sure the colour works as well as I’d like, but at that cost I can try every colour in the spectrum til I’m happy!

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All in all, I’m happy with my purchase and I’ll think my new coat and I will be very happy together this winter!

It is with a flick of ribbon I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Pin-up but I like it…

After a little hiatus (I’ve been feeling a bit delicate, but all better now) I’m back and I want to share with you one of my heroines: Bettie Page.

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Bettie is a pin up from the 1950s who I’d be surprised if you didn’t recognise. She was a secretary by trade but did a bit of modelling at weekends to top up her income. She did a number of different things: modelled for photography clubs, for cult photographer Bunny Yeager and perhaps infamously, posed for some fetish photos too. The later part of Bettie’s life, post modelling, is a little messy and sad in places and not something I’ll dwell on here.

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My Bettie obsession reached a peak over the summer and I watched several films about her. The first was a documentary called ‘Bettie Page Reveals All’. This was for the most part quite disappointing. It was mostly images of Bettie interspersed with interviews with people who knew her. The background music was quite intrusive and really detracted from the whole thing. The Dr and I endured it and it does give you some insights into her life, many of them from Bettie herself.

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I also watched The Notorious Bettie Page which was a more entertaining watch, being a feature film rather than a documentary. Sources say Bettie herself didn’t like the film and said it was not an accurate portrayal of her, but hey, that’s a story as old as the hills!

So, why is Bettie one of my heroines? I’m a feminist, I’m a woman, I adore vintage. Why am I choosing a pin up girl to idolise?

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Largely I think she was just very good at what she did. She was very natural, she looked like she was having fun, and according to the people who took her photos she did love posing and having her photo taken. She was very comfortable with her body, happy to be nude and fearless in the pursuit of a good shot – even getting up close and personal with these leopards when Bunny asked her to!

She made a lot of her own swimsuits, bikinis etc. When you look at them in the light of what might have been considered decent in the 1950s you can see that they are somewhat skimpy! Bettie wasn’t afraid to challenge what was considered acceptable.

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She does what she does very naturally. I am with Caitlin Moran on the issue of nudity – if it genuinely empowers a woman to pose nude then why shouldn’t she. Bettie had an enviable figure and wasn’t afraid of it or what it could do for her. I think she looks amazing and I’d definitely aspire to a figure like that. She has great legs, an ample bosom and that high waist – I’d remove ribs to achieve it ( probably the only way I would ever achieve it)!

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All in all, I’m in awe of Bettie’s figure and her natural playfulness in front of the camera. In a world where we are bombarded with images of either physically altered models or digitally altered images I like the fact Bettie did what she did and enjoyed it. She was comfortable and natural and I think it is nor surprise that some of her most celebrated images are taken by (female) photographer Bunny Yeager.

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It is with a saucy wink I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only eyewear but I like it…

I’d been feeling like I’d lost my vintage mojo recently. I came home to the UK (as is usual) to a huge pile of parcels from Ebay, and whilst some of them were successful vintage buys, some of them didn’t work on me. They clung at the stomach or gaped at the breast or some other fashion malady. All of this combined to diminish my fragile confidence.

Then the other day I was looking through some old photos and happened upon a photo of my Gran. We’ve no idea where she was or when it was taken but she was sporting an immense pair of Cat’s Eye glasses. I saw it and straight away knew what would bring me back up to vintage par – I needed some retro eyewear!

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(This is not my Gran!)

So I started looking into it. There are lots of sites that offer genuine vintage spectacle frames. I spent a long time browsing the great range at Dead Men’s Spex but as a very short sighted everyday specs wearer I decided this wasn’t for me. I wanted something I could put on day after day that would stand up to the rigours of a frenetic life (That doesn’t mean I might not go back at some point and treat myself to a vintage pair for special occasions!).

After another google and a quick trawl of some Facebook groups I found Annie Towler at Retro Peepers who offers a great range of new frames with vintage stylings. These can then be sent off and glazed with your prescription lenses. Wow. I was in heaven. After firing off a quick couple of emails to Annie (who was very helpful and prompt with her replies) I put in an order for two pairs of ‘Peggy’ specs (in black and tortoiseshell):

Peggy Black

Peggy Tortoiseshell

And, just for fun, a pair of ‘Lucy’ frames too.
Lucy Black

These arrived very promptly and I quickly fell in love with the Peggy frames (at a super-reasonable £12 each) but couldn’t see a space in my life for Lucy, so I sent her back to Annie within 7 days for a no quibble refund.

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Next step was to get them glazed. For this you need your prescription – I got mine from Specsavers as that’s where I last got my eyes tested. However, Specsavers wouldn’t give me my Pupillary Distance (PD) measurement unless I paid £40. I smiled sweetly and walked out. Unbelievable. You really need to provide your glazers with the PD measurement to ensure your lenses work well for you. Luckily, Ciliary Blue the glazers Annie recommends will take your PD measurement from a current pair of specs. They were also very helpful and efficient. They posted me a box and I sent off my old pair of specs and my lovely Peggy frames for reglazing. They have a range of lenses and I chose some basic ones with a UV tint which cost £20.
And here are the results:

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I was so happy with the frames and the glazing. The lenses were perfect and the styling was just what I wanted, but couldn’t find on the high street.
There was just one thing… The fit.They kept slipping down my nose. As a seasoned specs-wearers I know how important getting the frames fitted is. So I got busy on YouTube and watched some tutorials on how to fit specs.

This is probably my favourite bit of the whole thing.
I learned that if you dunk your frames in hot water, they become malleable enough for you to tease into the right shape. I decided to ty this and combined it with another very important job… A nice cuppa!
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A quick 10 second dunk into my hot tea and I was shaping away. I spent most of the morning bending, trying on, bending a bit more and gently shaped my glasses until they were a perfect fit. See here, a before and after pic!

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On the left, un-teased specs, on the right, gently bended specs.

Now obviously this comes with a disclaimer – this needs to be done gently over time. It is not my fault if you snap your specs by dunking them in a luke warm cappuccino and trying to bend them into a reflex angle straightaway!

Overall, I’m very happy with the results and have been wearing my glasses non-stop for a few days with no problems and a whole heap of compliments. I now just need to get back on eBay and see if I can find my fashion Mojo – more on that next time!

It is with an over-the-top-of-my-specs-look that I say:

It’s Only Vintage but I like It…

*Disclaimer – this was my retro adventure, I paid for all these products and services, all views are my own!*