Vintage Novelty Pineapple Teapot Set

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!

vintage novelty pineapple teapot

I have a confession… I love pineapples! Earlier this month you have heard me gushing over my retro 1950’s style 3-piece holiday set in pineapple print. Today, for Vintage of the Month, I will be sharing this sweet vintage teapot set I have in my collection!

Look at all the mini teacups!!

I found this vintage novelty teapot set on Carousell (think Depop, but based in Singapore) a couple of years back for a ridiculous price of just $15. I had to get it. It had been listed for a while and it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. So I felt that I had to save it from an unthinkable fate! I had to give it a new home and a new life! *cue dramatic music*

And of course, I did.

Pineapple flavoured iced yerba mate, from Teakoe, purchased in Colorado

 

Pina Colada flavoured black tea, from Miesna, Sri Lanka

Unfortunately, it’s just been sitting in my cupboard all this time. For some reason, I just haven’t quite found the chance to bust the set out and let it busk in all of its vintage novelty glory. But now that a couple of pineapple flavoured tea has creeped into my tea collection, I think I might be ready to use it for an afternoon tea at home soon.

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Perhaps I might even make one of those upside-down pineapple cakes using a vintage recipe? Maybe I will make a ketogenic version of it? Ah, all the possibilities!

If you think you fancy a novelty pineapple teapot but can’t find the right one, you can also consider making a pineapple teapot cosy yourself! There’s a free crochet pattern by Tea and Craft on Ravelry, and a a free knitting pattern for a slightly different design here.

Left: crocheted pineapple teapot cosy (via) Right: knitted pineapple teapot cosy (via)

I have a few other pineapple-related projects lined up. So, if you, like me, think pineapples are cute, you can look forward to more pineapple inspired posts coming up in the next month! xx

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Vintage Trifari Monogram Brooch in Letter ‘G’

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!

Gwenstella Made Vintage Trifari Monogram Letter G brooch

Happy birthday to me! The month of March had come and gone by quickly, and I am now another year older. Other than welcoming a few more dark spots on my face, I also welcomed a new member to my collection of vintage jewellery… Behold, the classic vintage Trifari initial brooch in letter ‘G’!

I have always wanted one of these Trifari brooches, but had never gotten around to buying one for myself for some reason. Perhaps in the back of my head I felt that it would be more special if I got it as a gift. So, when my birthday came around this year and I still didn’t have any idea what I wanted in particular, I knew it was the year to ask for this brooch from my partner!

Yes, I’m the kind of person that asks for my presents openly without any shame. Life is too short for unwanted presents from your significant other. I even did the search for a reasonably priced piece on Etsy myself. That way, I was sure I would get exactly what I wanted and made sure that my partner didn’t have to spend more than what the item is worth.

Gwenstella Made Vintage Trifari Monogram Letter G broochThe original cost of the brooch back in 1966 was $2 (excluding taxes). According to this inflation calculator, $2 in 1966 would cost $15.36 in 2017. Guess what, that’s pretty much the same price we paid for this brooch (excluding shipping)! It was an incredibly lucky find on Etsy, because the Trifari initial brooches are not always easy to come by, especially one that is in such an excellent vintage condition. Also, as a vintage appreciator, I often assume an appreciation in value for vintage pieces like this one. So, really, we are lucky to have found one that cost the same as they did in 1966!

Obviously, ‘G’ stands for ‘Gwen’. Many of you know me as ‘Gwen’, but that is not the name on my official documents. My Chinese name is ‘琪雯’ (romanised as ‘Qiwen’). It’s not a name I go by because the first sound of the first character does not exist in the English sound system and many people have difficulty saying it. I went by ‘Gwen’ when I was living in Sydney because it kinda looked like the romanised version of my Chinese name. The name stuck and it almost feels like my real name now.

Moreover, the letter ‘Q’ brooch (along with letters ‘U’, ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘Z’) was only available via special order according to this page from the Trifari catalogue. So, even if I wanted to get the letter ‘Q’ for my Chinese name, it would be so much harder for me to find one.

Now that I have one in ‘G’ for ‘Gwen’, I am wondering if I should get the letter ‘H’ for my last name, ‘Heng’ (romanised version of my Chinese last name). This Trifari ad is so cute, it makes me want to parade my initials on my garments every where I go.

Do you also have one of these Trifari initial brooches? What do you think of wearing them like suggested in the ad?

Vintage 1950’s Red Cluster Earrings and Moonglow Necklace

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!

It’s the time of the month again! Yes, it’s time for me to share a piece of vintage item from my very own collection. Instead of sharing a clothing item like I had for the last 4 posts, I have decided to share some accessories this time. In fact, instead of just sharing an item, I am sharing a set of 2 items!

If you are into vintage style like me, you will probably get my love for having things in a set. This means having clothes as a set, having matching shoes and bags, and even jewellery. Basically, having a well-coordinated outfit is important, and this is achieved by wearing things that come in a set.

Owning one or more demi-parures, semi-parures or full parures of vintage mid-century jewellery has always been (and is still) a dream of mine. However, finding a set of vintage jewellery in the style and colour that I love is challenging, and often costly. As a result, I have now resorted to working within the constraints of my budget and using my creativity – I find matching pieces in identical colour to pass off as part of a set.

Here I am, introducing my first faux demi-parure in one of my favourite colours – red. How can any 1950’s-loving gal not have set of red mid-century accessories in her collection? The earrings in this set is a pair of clip-on cluster earrings made up of faux pearl beads, while the necklace is made up of crescent-shaped red thermoset lucite. How classic is this shade of red?

Cluster earrings are very popular in the 50’s and 60’s. These vintage earrings are usually clip-ons, and can have the names of the brands stamped on the back. Some of the popular brands are Coro, Lisner, and Monet, etc. However, my favourite signed earrings to buy are usually the ones signed simply with the word “Japan”. I don’t know why, but perhaps because I don’t care for brand names in jewellery, or perhaps because they evoke a certain sense of mystery – no brands, just the name of a country.  These ones are signed “Japan”.

Thermoset lucite jewellery is another type of vintage jewellery I am always on the look-out for. These plastic jewellery have a special lustre and are also described as “moon glow”. How romantic is that? The half-moon design seems to be particularly popular for thermoset lucite jewellery. But thermoset lucite jewellery can also be set in a variety of shapes like leave, circle, square, rectangle, and even heart-shape. They also come in a range of colours. Some of the colours I have seen are baby pink, coral, orange, forest green, and midnight blue!

I am slowly working on having different sets of jewellery in different colours. That way, I will always have a set of vintage jewellery to put on with any kind of colour I am wearing! This may take my whole lifetime, but hey, a girl can always dream…

Do you also love wearing a jewellery sets? What is your favourite kind of vintage jewellery?

Vintage 1970’s Floral Dress with Bell-sleeves

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!

So it seems to me that I had completely forgotten about my VOTM post for December 2017. My apologies for that, and let’s pretend that I was on a holiday somewhere…

Welcome back to my “Vintage of the Month” series! This month, I am sharing another piece from the groovy 1970’s, and discussing some very lovable details in this well-made vintage garment.

Wearing: Vintage 1970’s dress, vintage mid-century leather purse, very old RTW heels

I got this beautiful 1970’s Japanese vintage dress when I was on a holiday in Hong Kong a few years back. It’s just about 1/2 to 1 size too large for me, but I couldn’t let it go because of its beautiful shade of meadow green and those graceful, subtle bell-sleeves.

The bell-shape design wasn’t only restricted to pants in the 1970s. They also made their way up and crept into the design of sleeves! Bell-sleeves started becoming popular in the late 1960’s when the free-love hippie movement came about and fashion took on a boho-chic angle. It continued to stay in fashion in the 1970’s, especially in the years when the Gunne Sax and the Little House on the Prairie look became in vogue. Many knee-length and floor-length dresses in those years feature a sleeve design with a wide opening, and a length that goes up to the elbow or beyond. Just like the bell-bottom pants, these sleeves are called “bell-sleeves” mainly because of how they resemble the shape of a bell. The more exaggerated versions with even wider sleeve openings are sometimes described as “angel sleeves” too, because they look like wings when you spread your arms out with these unique sleeves.

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I wore this dress for the first time to a friend’s wedding in 2016 and these photos were taken on the day itself. Notice that I have shoulder-length hair in these photos. 😉

As with many pre-1980’s vintage garments, there are many hand-stitching details in this dress. Let’s zoom in and have a look:

Blanket stitches on hook and eye

Blanket stitches on hook and eye

Hand-stitching on the facing

Hand-stitching on the facing

Thread belt loop

Thread belt loop

Sheer polyester fabric with embroidered leaves

Sheer polyester fabric with embroidered leaves

These are all beautiful hand-stitching details that I would like to learn to incorporate into my own sewing. I have only used regular straight stitches when sewing a hook and eye, but I really like the way the blanket stitches look. Yes, I definitely should make it a point to start using blanket stitches when sewing hooks and eyes!

What is your favourite detail of this dress? And to all my sewing friends out there, what kind of vintage sewing technique do you incorporate in your everyday sewing?

 

Vintage 1970’s Faded Glory Denim Jumpsuit

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!
vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitAh… the 1970’s. What a glorious time!

I’m sure everyone will agree with me that bell bottoms are the most iconic style from the 1970’s. I am usually more of mid-century style gal, but there’s something about bell bottoms that makes my heart sing and my hips shake to the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuit

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitWhen I found this denim jumpsuit in a Buffalo Exchange in Colorado earlier this year, it was love at first sight. I have been searching for a vintage (denim) jumpsuit for as long as I can remember, and to find a vintage one in a resale shop is just like a dream come true! Of course, the fact that it fits me is the icing on the cake.

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitFor me, the bell bottoms and label are dead giveaways for the age of this jumpsuit. I have thrifted a couple of items by Faded Glory previously and I immediately recognised that this ornate design appears to be an older version of the one they have in other items I have, like this straw bag I used to own (pictured below). Usually, I would consult the label resource on Vintage Fashion Guild to confirm my suspicion. Unfortunately, there’s no entry on Faded Glory on the site currently.

A straw bag by Faded Glory with a different label design. I thrifted this a few years ago in Texas.

What I usually do next is a bit of detective work – I would look up other items with the same label that are listed on online sites such as eBay and Etsy. True enough, many people have also described this label as something from the 1970’s.

In addition to the design of the company label, the “Made in Hong Kong” label provides another detail that supports my guess. Most high-street items these days are made in China and other developing countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh (where labour is cheap, sadly). When industralisation started gaining speed in the 1970s, many factories that produced clothes were located in countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some quality vintage items from the 1950’s and 1960’s may even be labelled as “Made in British Crown Colony of Hong Kong”.

So there, in summary, these are the details that helped me decide the age of the jumpsuit:

  • Decorative design of the company label which is different from what I know
  • “Made in Hong Kong” label
  • Iconic bell-bottom design

Do you like the fashion from the 1970’s? What’s your favourite part of the 1970’s?

Vintage 80’s does 50’s Pink Candy Cane Swing Dress

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!
Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Wearing: Vintage 80’s does 50’s swing dress, Sunjellies basket and sandals

Hi everyone, I am back with my VOTM post for the month of October! In my last VOTM post, I shared a beautiful 90’s does 30’s Betsey Johnson dress and talked about how fashion keeps going in cycle. This month, I am sharing another dress in my favourite colour – pink!

This sweet pink number is an 80’s does 50’s swing dress I purchased a couple of years back. I may have purchased it from Hong Kong or from a seller based in Singapore – I honestly can’t remember.

This dress is made of polyester fabric with diagonal pink & white pinstripes. The bodice isn’t lined so I had to wear a white tank top with the dress. The skirt, on the other hand, is lined. It has a comfortable elasticised waist and a roomy, boxy bodice. The sleeves, despite being considered “short sleeves” were still too long for me and I decided that wearing the dress with the sleeves folded up made it look better.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Details: Elasticised waist, boxy bodice, full circle skirt

My favourite thing about the dress is the fun, full circle skirt. Who doesn’t love twirling in a circle skirt?

While this dress has a silhouette that is reminiscent of the 1950’s New Look style, everything else about the dress which I have described about is a dead giveaway that it is not from the 1950’s. I guess people in the 1980’s valued comfort over fit, which explains the elasticised waist and unfitted bodice. Also, fashion in the 1980’s was big on the large underarm ease! And of course, mass production came into place and polyester is a cheap fabric option. For anyone who is new to vintage and slowly building a vintage wardrobe, an 80’s does 50’s dress is definitely a good place to start, as they are usually cheaper and easier to find than true vintage pieces from the 1950’s.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dressThese photos were snapped on the day that I last wore this dress. I sold the dress a few months back as I am slowly culling my wardrobe to make more space for #gwenstellamade pieces and mid-century pieces that hold a special place in my heart. If I can’t even remember when and where I bought this dress, then it’s obvious that this dress has to go.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Details: Centre-back buttons, #Gwenstellamade hair tie (tutorial here), vintage 60’s hoops

Stay tuned for next month’s VOTM post! Judging from the progression so far, I have a feeling that next month I will be sharing something from the 70’s… xx Gwen

 

Vintage 90’s does 30’s Betsey Johnson dress

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, starting this month!

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

Every vintage lover (and dedicated follower of fashion) knows that fashion comes in cycle. Most people  estimate that fashion cycles around on the average of once every 30 years. When shopping online for vintage, I have come across many examples of the 30-year cycle rule. I have seen tons of 90s does 60s, 80s does 50s, as well as 70s does 40s on the internet. But never have I thought of or came across 90s does 30s… until I chanced upon the listing for this dress on Instagram.

Pink
Velvet
Betsey Johnson
Bias cut art deco vibes

 

These are all the things I love… embodied in a single dress. Something truly magical happened in the 1990s for this dress to come to be.

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dressI kept this dress for several months and waited for the right occasion to wear it. That chance finally came along when my partner and I decided to have dinner at The Black Swan for date night a while back.

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan is a dreamy restaurant and bar oozing with glamorous art deco vibes, set in a beautifully restored 1930’s building in the heart of Singapore city. I visited the restaurant for the first time with a couple of friends from work, and knew right away that I had to revisit the restaurant all dressed up in 1930’s inspired style.

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The service at The Black Swan was excellent during both of my visits, and my partner thoroughly enjoyed the fact that he could select the steak knife to use for his steak.

I wore my 90s does 30s pink velvet gown with a pair of black heels that I have had for many years, as well as a vintage beaded black purse I found in a thrift shop in the USA. My hair was basically the result of a failed wet set and a dozen of bobby pins. Nothing is more classy (and easy) than a low, messy chignon!

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

To give the entire look a bit of a quirky modern edge, I also made and wore a black choker. I am working on a post to share with everyone how I made this little choker. Stay tuned for a super easy and quick tutorial!

xx G

Click here to see all ‘Vintage of the Month’ posts

 

OUTFIT: ‘Til seams come apart

 

Wearing: True vintage 1960s dress, vintage London Fog sunnies, thrifted & upcycled wicker purse

You might find this dress familiar. You might be thinking that you have seen this dress on the blog prior to this post.

Yes, this dress was first featured in this post exclaiming the importance of owning a pair of white stockings for a vintage/retro wardrobe. You have seen this dress before, but today is the first time that you will be reading about the story of this dress…

This is a vintage 1960’s dress that I bought in Austin, Texas back in December 2014. I wore it out for the first time for Chinese New Year in 2015, then a couple more times after. It remained untouched in my wardrobe for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, until I took it out again for brunch a couple of weeks ago.

With the last week being Fashion Revolution Week, I am once again reminded of the importance of buying quality over quantity, and cultivating shopping habits that encourage sustainability. Admittedly, I don’t utilise my wardrobe as much as I want to, and I am still in the process of decluttering and learning to ‘choose joy’. Being a recovering shopaholic, I still have emotional attachment to all of the things I own and need a bit more time to learn to let go. But I always make sure I go through my wardrobe in cycles so my clothes get worn and I get to decide if I need to turn them in at a swap or sell them, in my own time. Check out my Instagram and you will see that the same few pieces of clothes will always tend to pop up for a certain period of time.

I love the concept of putting together a capsule wardrobe with what I already own, working through the pieces and being creative with the styling of an outfit. The same dress looks different when you roll up the sleeves, carry a different bag, and slap on a different pair of shades with it.

I don’t have a weekend capsule wardrobe right now, but I am working with a colour theme – pink. And so, here I am again with this pink dress which I first blogged about in 2015.The stressed seams on the front darts make it too precious to be worn out regularly, but every time I wear it, it’s like a new dress to me. You will probably see this dress on my Instagram or on this blog again some time in the future. Don’t be surprised if you do. Loved clothes last. x

If you are interested in learning more about the perils of fast fashion and the current dire state of consumerism, check out The True Cost documentary. I also love this article by The Telegraph. 

MUST HAVE: Opaque white stockings for that 1960s look

opaque white stockings 1960s

opaque white stockings 1960s

A pair of opaque white stockings has a special kind of charm. They are commonly worn together with a shift dress and short, chunky square-toed heel for the 1960s mod look. But here I have paired them with a 1960s Neapolitan fit-and-flare dress and my grey Chelsea Crew shoes for a twist in that classic mid-century look.

And here are some inspirations for you!

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twiggy white stockings 1960s mod

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Yes, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could go with textures too! x G

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OUTFIT: Just a hint of blue

It just occurred to me that the months have gone past so quickly this year. Or maybe it does the same thing every year. And now I am feeling a little sad about how I still have so much I have not achieved for the year.

This year is extra special for me because I got a step closer to fulfilling my dreams (and reaching my late twenties).

I finally started gee whiz! – a vintage clothing business that I have always dreamed about! I set up shop with the very limited stock I had in April on Phonographic Day (otherwise known as Record Store Day) with the good folks from Retrophonics Records and FLABSLAB in Singapore. And then, I launched my Etsy shop in June and have been working on adding more inventory to the shop. If you didn’t know already, juggling a full-time job, pattern-making classes, a vintage clothing shop, and maintaining a social life is tricky!

It’s been several months since I started gee whiz!, but it is definitely still far from what I envisioned it to be. But I am definitely going to continue with what feels right for me and hopefully, everything will fall into place someday!

And so, here I am, out on a brunch date with the man and wearing a vintage 70’s dress that was supposed to end up in the shop. Yes, I shop for myself and gee whiz! at the same time when I shop for vintage. How am I supposed to resist? Sometimes I find it really hard to decide if I want to keep a vintage piece of clothing or put it in the shop! But alas, I only have one life and one body, so good things must be shared.

If you like this dress, you may also like some of the other things I have in my shop. Visit gee whiz!’s Etsy shop to check them out. Click on the gee whiz! logo to go.

Alternatively, you can read more about my inspirations I get from vintage style on the gee whiz! blog.

 

gee whiz!www.geewhiz.co