Well Dressed, Well Read: Dawn Powell’s “My Home is Far Away”

Everybody in London Junction talked about the second MRs. Willard’s trousseau, and several ladies had even paid formal calls for the express purpose of examining it. There was her off-white satin wedding dress with the short, pearl-sequined veil, her fawn-coloured broadcloth traveling suit trimmed in brown soutache, with a peg-top skirt, brown horse-hair toque and gloves to match, her purple taffeta petticoat and umbrella, her peach-coloured crepe de chine party dress with beaded panel down the front and baby blue velvet forget-me-nots appliquéd around the flounce, and her big horsehair picture hat weighted with huge roses. For every day she had the clothes left over from her mourning period for the late Dr. Turner. Her early weeks in London Junction were marked by magic transformations from mousey little grub by morning into radiant butterfly by dusk, radiance graded to suit whatever occasion was on hand.

-from My Home Is Far Away by Dawn Powell

Screen Style Stills: Call the Midwife

Have you seen Call the Midwife? This British TV show going into its fourth season in 2015 has stolen our hearts and captured our attention for the following reasons:

1. The entire main cast is composed of women of all ages and sizes.

2. The main characters are not super-rich–most TV shows focus on the lives and stories of the upper class (Gossip Girl, Mad Men, Scandal, etc)

3. The series is based on the memoirs of a woman–Jennifer Worth.

4. The show passes the Bechdel Test and Mako Mori test in every episode

5. The vast majority of episodes are written and directed by women.

Call the Midwife has been a runaway hit for a reason–it has swept through and won over and over again in various TV awards, drew more viewers than Downtown Abbey, and generally applauded for being a damn good show (warning-link contains spoilers.)

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Above: Nurse Franklin (Helen George) is happy to be at work and wear pants instead of her usual nurse’s uniform.

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It’s interesting to hear their commentary on everything from girdles to wearings pants a work to couture nursing uniforms–yes, the clothes are a frequent topic of conversation on the show.

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Above: Nurse Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) is feeling uncomfortable wearing trousers for a night out on the town. Trixie and Jane (Dorothy Atkinson) assure her its very stylish.

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It’s also interesting to see all the vintage maternity styles, and what pregnant women are wearing is often explored in how their style is changing (or in some cases, trying not to change) as they go through their pregnancies.

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The core cast is quite diverse in terms of bodies, so the fashions of the era are nicely represented. In one of the very first episodes, Chummy (Miranda Hart) shows her fellow nurses how she has had to learn to sew to make clothes that fit her properly since they’re not widely available on the market (Chummy is relatively tall). Later on, Trixie fears she will come under fire for her new platinum pixie cut, inspired by Jean Seberg. Plus, each show focuses on a different story of one of their patients, bringing in all sorts of styles and body types.

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All the looks are so colourful–a far cry from what you would see people wearing walking about today (at least here in Vancouver, which is a very neutral-heavy city).

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Above: A patient is sad to be told she can’t wear her normal stockings, she’s got to switch to support stockings for the duration of her pregnancy.

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Editor’s Inspirations: Fall 2014

By: Emily Y.

I’m feeling weirdly not fall wish-list-y this year for like the first time ever. Instead, I’m trying to find ways to make new outfits and generally remix my wardrobe with what I have already because I’m pretty happy with my current selection to be honest. Here are a few things I consider when getting dressed in the morning.

Here is what my current fashion inspiration board looks like:

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I update my fashion inspiration board every few months, here is what I put up around the middle of last month. It’s actually all clippings from Lucky’s glory days–for instance, the one on the bottom left is from August 2010! As long as it inspires my outfits, I dun really care how old the inspiration is.

A new hairdo makes a difference

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I recently decided I want to step up my hair-styling skills, and I’ve been having tons of fun with hair donuts, hot rollers, etc. For my birthday, I treated myself to this book above, Braids, Buns, and Twists! by Christina Butcher. Some of the styles are super basic, but there is def enough in there for me to stay inspired and try lots of new things. Be sure to check out Butcher’s blog, Hair Romance for lots of free hairstyle tutorials.

When I’m lacking colour inspiration or I don’t know how to match certain shades, I turn to MSGM.

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This Italian line never fails to get me thinking about new colour combinations. I look at all their shows, new and old, to see how I can be wearing the really colourful stuff in my wardrobe differently. Above are pictures from their Pre-Fall 2012 collection--wanna know how to wear orange and blue and not like you’re on a sports team? How about bright yellow and green in the dead of winter? MSGM lookbooks know how to pull this off, and as such I take notes.

Let it be known: when I start my Girl Gang, we will all be wearing Miu Miu.

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…because Prada is a badass boss lady who is a feminist. Sure, she’s got her issues, but when my gang is running this town, we’re gonna look fierce like the ladies in her Spring ’15 show shown above.

 

Gloss over This: Taylor Swift

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“When I was younger, I was just fascinated by romance and now the most important thing to me is opinions of [my] sisterhood of friends,” she says. “Celebrities surround themselves with people who don’t know what they want and only have you to validate their lives–that’s not interesting to me. You should not be threatened by women who are pretty and charismatic and good at what they do…my girlfriends have shaped me more in the past year and a half than any other factor.”

-Taylor Swift in ‘Custom Taylor” by Fiorella Valdesolo in Fashion November 2014.

Bibliostyle: Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”

emiliawicksteeadspring2015 Above: Emilia Wickstead, Spring 2015. Image found here.

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Above: Rosie Assoulin, Spring 2015. Image found here.

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Above: Sophia Kah, Spring 2015. Image found here.

The gold shimmer of Edna’s satin gown spread in rich folds on either side of her. There was a soft fall of lace encircling her shoulders. It was the colour of her skin, without the glow, the myriad of living tints that one may sometimes discover in vibrant flesh. There was something in her attitude, in her whole appearance when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair and spread her arms, which suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone.

-from The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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