girl from the north country

Month: April, 2011

Royal Wedding: LIVE.

Ok, I’m up. Have been for a bit, but I’ve just been waking up and taking it all in. I’m watching it on NBC, but if you don’t have access to a television, don’t fear! There are plenty of online live-streams. Here’s a link to PBS’s:

William and Harry arrived at Westminster Abbey about twenty minutes ago, looking excited and a bit nervous. Kate’s mother and brother just arrived as well. She is looking very classy. Way ahead of the mother-of-the-bride curve.

When William and Harry set out for Westminster you could hear the crowd go up in cheers, waving flags, full of joy. There’s something sweet about that. They’re all so excited!

And now the Queen is on her way! Wearing a sunny yellow outfit and classic hat. Speaking of hats, there are some very crazy hats and fascinators at the wedding! Definitely fun to see.

Charles and Camilla are arriving now too. Apparently a lot of the women at the wedding are wearing Jimmy Choo shoes, including Camilla.

K, I’m going to concentrate for a bit now and take it all in as the Queen arrives. Be back when Kate starts leaving : )

Kate just got into the car with her father and speculation is buzzing about the designer. What you can see of it from the cameras is a lace overlay and sleeves, and her hair is down with her veil and a tiara. The crowd is so excited, and Kate is happily waving to them all. She looks beautiful.

Pippa, Kate’s younger sister, just arrived with the young bridesmaids and page boys. She is wearing a sleek, floor-length gown that looks like it’s an ivory or champagne color.

The sun just came out as the car with Kate and her father pulled up to Westminster. Pippa is leaving the Abbey to greet her sister. And the dress is gorgeous! Apparently it’s designed by Sarah Burton. It has a long train (though not as long as Diana’s was) and the front, while covering her well, something required for a royal wedding, is open enough to look modern. She looks so happy!

Be back soon. Time for the processional.

Here’s a link to an article about the dress which includes the release from the official Royal website. They even have a couple of pictures!

In other note, the ceremony is lovely. It’s fun to see a wedding ceremony in the traditional Anglican. I think my favorite part so far has been the hymns though. The choir singing right now is beautiful!

What has your favorite part been so far? Are you especially looking forward to watching anything else?

Well that was a lovely ceremony. Listen to that crowd! England is in love.

Next up: carriage ride and kiss on the balcony!

The Strib posted a link on Twitter to pictures of the Dress and the ceremony.

Well, the kiss was not quite worth the hour and a half countdown, but still cool to see the crowd gathering around Buckingham Palace. I must say, I’m glad to say I have a bit of Brit blood in me. Well, time to make coffee and get ready for the day! Thanks for joining me! Cheerio!


4 most exciting things about the Royal Wedding.

Kate. Isn't she stunning?!

I won’t lie. I was pretty disinterested when I heard that Will and Kate were going to get married. Why should I care? But as buzz on them kept growing, I couldn’t help but noticing. Kate is classy and timeless and has a great sense of self, on top of her stunning style. Blogs have been going crazy for this couple, and I couldn’t help but appreciating the fun that surrounded this event. The whole world is watching this. Isn’t it kind of exciting to be part of that? I couldn’t help but getting sucked in.

Here are my top 4 reasons why I have become a fan of the Royal Wedding frenzy:

1. The Brits are showing their best sides, dressing up and gathering with a national fervor that warms the heart. And the hats are simply grand. Watching the processional around London is going to be wonderful. Wouldn’t it be fun to have something our entire nation could rally around like this?

2. Kate’s dress. She is a super classy lady, and always looks gorgeous and well put-together. I can only imagine her dress will be a perfect combination of sleek, modern and classic. Can’t wait.

3. I have a good excuse to wear my own cute dress, drink out of my tea cups  and don one of my more outrageous hats that I’m kind of too scared to wear in public. Not to mention speaking in a British accent all day!

4. Will and Kate decided to be together after genuinely working through a lot, because they truly love each other. I think that’s sweet.

What are YOU most looking forward to seeing tomorrow? Have you been watching all the TV specials? Or could you care less? What are your thoughts?

P.S. I’m thinking I might try to “live blog” the wedding tomorrow. Just add commentary on what I think of all the festivities and pretty clothes. Although if you know me at all, you know I’m not a morning person, so I don’t know how coherent I’ll be at 3 or 4 in the morning. But I’ll try : )

photo from hairstyle-blog. via google search. oops.

Little Black Dress.

Coco Chanel, who practically invented the idea of the LBD. What a classy lady.

This weekend I went shopping with my mom, grandma and sister. While innocently browsing the racks, I happened upon the loveliest black dress. With a perfectly classic cut and being just my size, it was the type of dress I had been searching for. It was just as perfect when I tried it on. It even had pockets, the perfect addition to any dress. I determined to buy it with the adamant encouragement of my grandma.

Coco Chanel popularized the “little black dress” and Audrey Hepburn encouraged every woman to find one that fit and flattered her, a perfect go-to in any situation. Well, this weekend I found my perfect little black dress, and even though it wasn’t made forty years ago, I think it’s quite reminiscent of something Audrey would have donned. Very Breakfast at Tiffany-esque. Just as any LBD should be, it’s flattering, I can dress it up or down and it has a timeless style.

Though I found this dress at Target it will last me for ages. While I love vintage clothing, sometimes there are pieces to be found in regular stores that have a vintage feel. I’m always on the lookout for things that have a vintage style, no matter the store. When you understand vintage styles from different eras, you develop an eye for styles and cuts that can recall ages past while having the advantage of wearing them new.

Don’t discount clothing or stores just because they are produced en-masse and sold at a chain store. You can always pair these new pieces with vintage, like I plan to wear my 1950s alligator pumps with my dress. Sometimes there are gems to be found.

I’ll have to post a photo on a night when I’m looking less grubby : )

Photo via Charcoal Interiors.

Funny Face

I love noticing clothing styles in films, understanding a character through their fashion and, if it’s an older movie, appreciating how the clothing represents the era in which it was made. I’d like to do a regular feature of people in movies that I see as style icons and look at what made them so great.

So, to begin with, I’d like to look at Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.” She has a beautifully simplistic style in this film. Audrey plays Jo Stockton, a bookstore clerk who loves contemplating philosophy. She is roped into modeling for a photo shoot for a fashion magazine in return for a trip to Paris, during which she gets to see her favorite philosopher. Along the way she discovers a lot about life and love. Edith Head designed the costumes for the film and did an immaculate job.

Edith is really deserving of a post all her own…yes. That will definitely be coming someday.

But back to the film and its stunning style. In her personal life, Jo’s style is very simple and utilitarian. Throughout the film she wears a uniform of slim black pants, a black top and loafers. While I don’t generally love monochromatic palettes, there is something about this type of relaxed all-black look that is very sleek without being overdone.

All-black utilitarian look.

When she’s modeling for photo shoots during her trip to Paris, the style she is dressed in is very different, but equally lovely. This side of her looks features classic fifties style, with mid-calf, full dresses, skirt suits and overstated hats. And there are a couple of gorgeous evening gowns. I think the costumes here give a perfect peek into what women were really wearing at the time.

Classic fifties.

Many of these looks are very timeless as well, and we could wear outfits just like these in real life – longer, fuller skirts have even come back in style! Sometimes it’s nice to think less about what we’re wearing and simply take a cue from what has already been put together. Go classic.

Sources: image one – source unknown; image two via Lacquered Life

Favorite Vintage.

Though many of my favorite vintage pieces are various accessories, I have also found some great pieces of clothing. One of my favorites is a gray wool pencil skirt I purchased at the Mighty Swell pop-up shop last December. It has a subtle red plaid pattern to it that gives it a bit more visual interest, as well as having buttons down the front. It’s perfect for cool weather when I still want to dress up without wearing a summery dress, and is made in a classic style that could literally last me the rest of my life.

Wool Pencil Skirt from Mighty Swell.

One thing that I love about vintage is that what you purchase is unique, not one off of an assembly line. When you wear vintage you don’t have to worry about running into someone who is wearing the same outfit. You can create a style that is all your own, choosing any piece that strikes your fancy, regardless of where it is from or when it was made. I love mixing vintage pieces with modern ones to keep things looking fresh.

Do you have a favorite vintage piece? Have you made any great finds at local shops? When you wear vintage, do you go all out, or do you mix and match with modern? I’d love to chat and get to know what your personal style is : )

Mighty Swell.

Last fall two lovely bloggers from the Twin Cites, Meghan McAndrews and Rae Danneman, joined forces to create Mighty Swell, a vintage pop-up shop. Having gotten backlogged with their Etsy sites and finding that they had far too many beautiful clothes sitting around waiting to be posted, they decided to bring their collections to the local community, and host a weekend-long sale.

This was an opportunity for vintage-lovers to see merchandise in-person, try things on and walk away with a purchase that they loved, instead of simply hoping an online purchase fit. Mighty Swell offered this experience to shoppers in a relaxed environment with very reasonable prices. Needless to say, their first go was a huge success.

After another tremendous response in December, the girls began looking for a spring location, and recently announced a permanent home for Mighty Swell on 42nd Street in Minneapolis. In one short week from now they will be hosting their “Spring Has Sprung” event at their new home! They’ve begun posting preview images on their facebook page and it looks like it’s going to be another great sale. But it only lasts two days, so don’t miss it!

This is a great opportunity to get your hands on some inexpensive vintage clothing in a low-key environment. I was at their December sale and it was so fun to see the wide variety of styles, and everyone working there was so sweet. Don’t miss out on this amazing sale. There will even be treats and live music. And you’ll probably meet some other delightful people who love the same things you do. How lovely. Definitely check their website and facebook for updates!

{Spring Has Sprung: April 30 and May 1, 10:00 a.m. t0 7:00 p.m. – 3109 East 42nd Street, Minneapolis}

Always save the shoes.

Writing about shoes, I was reminded of a near-death experience my heels and I had a couple months ago. It was late November when I got my pair of vintage brown leather pumps {see last post}. I wore them to class, despite the foreboding weather, figuring the rain would hold off. I figured wrong.

By the afternoon, when it was time to walk home, the rain was coming down in torrents. Though it wasn’t a terribly long walk back, I really hate it when my feet get wet, but there was no other option. I started briskly walking to the crosswalk, but within two feet I was faced with a puddle of water too wide to jump across. Instinctively I took off my heels and started running. I clearly had not considered that, though it was raining, it had already snowed several times and the ground was frozen. And soon were my feet.

I got stopped by traffic halfway across the busy intersection, where I ended up standing in an icy pool of water, waiting for the light to turn green. Hopping from one foot to the other in a desperate attempt to keep feeling in them, I must have looked a sight. As I began running the last stretch to my apartment, I kept tripping, as my feet felt completely detached from my body.

When I finally made it inside I stumbled up the stairs, still feeling as though I was dragging my body on blocks of ice rather than feet. It took them several hours fully to recover, but it was a constant comfort knowing that my lovely vintage heels were safe and dry.

One doesn’t find perfectly-fitting, inexpensive vintage heels every day, and a girl must do what she can to save them. Many people would think me silly for potentially sacrificing my feet for a pair of shoes, and I probably was, but where my feet recovered, my heels would not have. Always save the shoes.

{Though next time I’m going to pay heed to the weather and wear galoshes instead.}


Shoes Always Fit.

One of the things I love most about vintage shops are the shoes. Not only are they gorgeous, but no matter what era they’re from, they always fit. A lot of vintage clothes need to be altered to fit properly even if they’re in your size, as sizing was very different in decades past. Shoes, however, no matter they style or decade, will still fit.

They were also made with a quality that doesn’t exist anymore, at least not where I can afford to buy shoes. Sorry, no Manolo Blahniks for me.  Making shoes for the general public used to be a craft, not another item off the assembly line. Can you imagine any of your shoes today lasting until you have grandchildren? Not a chance. But shoes from the past were made to last, with quality material and craftsmanship.

Sometimes shoes can disappoint, as it’s the luck of the draw as to what will even be the right size. But when you do find a pair that fit in a style you love, it is bliss.

Though I’ve often had a hard time finding vintage clothes that fit really well, in the past year I’ve gotten three pairs of beautiful vintage shoes. It’s always a search, and I’ve often walked away empty-handed, but those few finds were worth all the hunting. The first was a pair of Allen Edmonds oxfords in a carmel-y brown, with army green accents from A Vintage Shop, this wonderful store near Sheboygan, Wisc. (which, of course, is not local, but they’re too great not to show off). This was my first vintage shoe purchase.


The second is a pair of shoes that I had been dreaming of for years. Remember in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly asks Paul to find her pair of black alligator pumps? Well I found them at Via’s Vintage in Uptown. They’re even from the 60s! Perfection.

1960s black alligator pumps

The last pair, reddish-brown leather pumps with a stacked heel, I found at an antique shop in Stillwater for $12. That’s right, $12 for vintage leather heels in pristine condition, that fit like a dream. I have never found a more comfortable pair, which is just the cherry on top. Those were a find indeed.

leather heels.