08 December 2011

8th December: Yes ladies, you will go to the ball

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about what I had bought in my charity shop indulgence, you can read

about it here: Charity Shop Treasures. Well apart from promoting one of my posts, what I'm getting at is that I bought a book called Christmas on the Home Front, which is all about Christmas during the war years. I've been reading it in the bath, with my pickled onions (I know, like Steptoe) and I'm really enjoying it. I hope to blog more about it, I just don't want to bore you all death going on about my love for men in uniform. They are scrummy though aren't they? 

What is quite obvious during the war years is that the War Office did everything they could to keep morale up, especially at Christmas. People were encouraged to go to the cinema, go to theatre and have parties. Parties ranged from small get together's with family, work parties and local dances. All kinds of local groups got together to be able to have a Christmas party. People rallied around to work hard to decorate the room, they had to block up all the windows and then they used metres of crinkly paper, some of it olive green but mostly a nice bright blue to decorate the walls. They also used yards of paper ribbon to decorate the place and paper chains made from newspaper that they coloured and stuck together with a small amount of flour made into a paste. They made a lattice-work of paper ribbon on the green part of the walls, by twisting the ribbons across the wall from the floor to the ceiling. The blue windows were decorated with a silver crescent moon and a few stars, with yellow tissue paper in front to reinforce the curtains. They built a bar and put hundreds of fairy lights around the room. They listened to music by gramophone or wireless and had a good old boogie, thankfully Dad dancing and the robot dance wasn't popular then.

At the time patterns for dresses designed to be worn at parties were included in the Home Notes magazine. Over the years a lot of party dresses were made or adapted by the 'Make do and Mend' idea, patterns in magazines became more popular and gave many ideas for how to liven up and old dress. One way of doing this was accessorising the shoulders with lace. Rich people or people who had the coupons could get a new dress for Christmas, such as a dress from Selfridges. Since we are in a recession now, not all of us can afford a new dress, apart from bankers that is.

How To Adapt a Look
You can easily adapt and accessorise a dress or an outfit.

Black (Black) Contrast Back Shirt | 236733101 | New Look
Contrast Back Shirt
Lace long sleeve top
Lace Long Top £12
Sheer Shirt: One way to change the look for a dress is by adding a sheer shirt underneath. This one from New Look is £19.99 and comes in black and cream. The back of the black shirt is cream with a black trim, which adds another dimension to the look. If you don't like that idea you can just wear a sheer shirt, black or coloured. You could also wear a lace top underneath, black or coloured, which would help make a plain dress become more stylish. Just if you get a unitard one remember that you can undo it at the bottom, you don't have to take the whole thing off to go to the loo. Yeah I learnt that the hard way.
Lola 50 Denier Colour Tights
Boohoo Pink 50
Den Tights £4
ASOS Spot and Sheer Tights
Asos Spotty Tights £8
Updating an outfit with tights is easier then stuffing your face with mince pies. There is such a range of tights out there, coloured ones would go well with a black dress, along with patterned ones. You can wear sheer tights with a pattern ie. spotty and wear them with any coloured or patterned dress. It's a piece of Christmas cake.

ASOS Glitter Skinny Belt
Asos Glitter Skinny
Belt £4.50

ASOS Mirror Metallic Skinny Belt
Asos Purple Metallic
Skinny Belt £6
Another way to easily update a dress or a top and skirt/ top and trousers is to add a belt to it. This can be any shape or size, thick or skinny, shiny or patterned it can transform an outfit. A glittery belt like this Asos one can be added to a black outfit to add a bit of sparkle. The Metallic belt also comes in blue, gold and silver. This would look good with a 50's style tea dress, with or without a pattern. It would also look good with a jumpsuit and a top and skirt.

Glamorous Faux Fur Cape
Faux Fur Cape £24
Capes and Shrugs
Adding a fake fur cape or even a woollen one to keep you warm will help you have a new outfit in a jiffy.

ASOS Bright Tartan Cape
Asos Tartan Cape £15

Make do and Mend
Vogue - 2902
Vogue 2902 £14.75
Vogue - 1273
McCall's M6253 £7.25
Vogue 1273 £14.75
If you fancy making yourself a dress you can find some great patterns here at Sew direct.
You can also get vintage patterns if you feel like adding a bit of vintage glamour to your Christmas party.The feather shoulder pattern includes a belt, a scarf, a necklace and other accessories. These would add the glitz and glam that your outfit has been waiting for. This other great McCall's pattern for capes and shrugs would update a look straight away. So whether you decide to go down the 'Make do and Mend' route, add a belt or a pair of funky tights, or decide to treat yourself to a new outfit, enjoy your parties, just please don't drink all the punch and photocopy your bum on the photocopier, it won't be your finest moment.
Second Hand Rose

1 comment:

  1. I am in love with that ASOS tartan cape! I have a thing about dressing like a hobo in the winter, and I believe that this could be the perfect asset to my wardrobe. Thank you, you babe.

    PS: I NEED you to take me charity shop shopping! Xx


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