An Egyptian Christmas

Cairo, 1941 
I have some exciting news to share with all of you!  For my Christmas break, Jacob and I will be visiting my parents and friends in Egypt!  I'm SO excited to go back and visit and to see how the country has changed since the revolution.  It's also Jacob's first time to see it, so I'm elated to show him a huge part of my world and who I am.  We're actually on our way right now!

(If you would like to see my tips on travel, check out my travel week series I posted previously:

Here I've included some old photos of places around Egypt for your enjoyment, especially places that I am going to see again, such as the Citadel and the Qasr Al-Nil Bridge (which is my favorite bridge, by the way).  I love looking at how some things are so different now, but other things, like donkey carts and village men in their galibiya robes, are exactly the same.  Time doesn't pass as quickly in some places as it does in the West, it seems.  And I love that.

That being said, the past couple days I have been packing, and now I'm on my way to Egypt!  I will try to post some pictures, stories, etc. while I'm over there, but of course internet and *coughelectricitycough* may be iffy.  So, if worst comes to worst, I shall share my adventures with you when I get back.

Just in case the latter option happens, have a great holiday season, everyone!  Spend time with your loved ones and ponder that deep stuff in life you may not always get to in other times of the year.  Enjoy yourselves and make memories!

My other posts on Egypt:


My Life and Family in the Middle East

King Farouk and his sisters, 1930s
Egyptian village, 1885 
Qasr Al-Nil Bridge (my favorite bridge!) in Cairo, 1880s-90s.  I love the regal lions.
Tahrir Square, 1900s.  I think that building in the background is the National Museum, and if I'm correct... it's still there and look just like that!
Tourists in Egypt, 1907
Old Cairo in the 1870s with the Citadel in the top right corner

Sponsor Highlight: Lovebirds Vintage

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Today I'm highlighting one of my longest blogosphere friends and her blog: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage!
Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Lovebirds Vintage is a blog that Helen has created to share her love of vintage fashion, reenactments, and the outings she takes about the UK where she lives.  She wears a lot of authentic 1940s styles but is no respecter of decades when it comes to wearing fabulousness.

Not to mention, Helen is just very sweet.  She's been a supporter of Flashback Summer from near the start, and she's a great gal!  She's also a knitter and entomologist (go to her blog to find out what that is!), and her blog is a lot of fun.

Check out the following pictures from her blog that should pique your interest, then go support a fellow vintage lover and follow, subscribe, and comment all over that blog!

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

Flashback Summer- Sponsor Highlight: Helen Mae of Lovebirds Vintage

"Fashion" Book Review

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

There are few things I love more than walking into a museum and admiring well-crafted, unique clothing from past years.  However, it doesn't get to happen very often because of my location in southern Missouri.

That's why when I was given this book as a gift, I was elated!  It's like having the huge clothing collection from the Kyoto Costume Institute right in my hands, available for me to peruse and reference any time I want!

Truly, I sat for a couple hours straight and looked through every single page.  It begins with clothing from the 1700s and ends in the year 2000, spanning the gamut from panniers and hoopskirts to Chanel and modern rubber band dresses.  There are a few pages of menswear as well, but the book is largely focused on women's wear.  It's a comprehensive overview of Western female fashion throughout the centuries, and it is over 650 pages of delectable fashion eye candy!

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

And you know what else is great?  It not only has pictures of garments, but it has full-out, styled ensembles that include jewelry, fans, shoes, etc.  It gives a great idea of actual outfits instead of seeing isolated pieces.  The book also highlights undergarments!  Corsets, bustles, all sorts of things!

I also appreciate that the book is not simply a picture book.  It has captions for each of the photos naming designers, years, collections, etc. and also includes photographs/paintings from the era that illustrate real people wearing the fashion styles pictured.  There are also 1-5 page information sections that pop up between fashion periods that describe influences on the fashion of the day, including sections like "The Influence of haute couture" and "The Shift from Rococo to Revolution."  I really enjoyed these sections because it brought more meaning to the following ensembles pictured in the following pages.  I understand better why natural motifs were so popular in Revolution-era French fashions, or the influence of Japanese art on early 1900s styles.  I'm not just looking at pictures of pretty clothes; I'm looking at significant pieces of history that had a context, a purpose, and a reason for being.

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

This book is must-have for vintage and historical fashion lovers.  Besides being full of good historical information, I personally use it for a lot of my own wardrobe inspiration.  It's a fabulous reference for creating accurate historical and vintage clothing, and it also gives great inspiration and ideas for fabric choices, embellishments, accessories, and styling for ensembles based on decades past.  The pictures and descriptions  of undergarments is also hugely helpful in understanding how clothing is constructed and how a silhouette is created.

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

I think the only thing I was disappointed with in this book is not really the book's fault.  After looking at decadent and incredibly crafted  pieces from the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s, the later modern pieces seemed an anticlimactic end to an incredible fashion saga.  A white, sheer, 90s slip dress compared to a natural form ball gown?  It's a bit of disappointment.  Thus, I suggest that if you read this book you go from back to front and end on a high note!

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

As this somewhat gushing post has expressed, I highly recommend this book for vintage and historical enthusiasts, anyone looking for fashion inspiration, sewing fans, and pretty much anyone that finds older fashion trends even remotely interesting.  But be careful when you start reading; you may be sucked in for a couple hours!

It may be a bit of a pricey buy if you get the book new (which makes sense because it's a hardcover book full of hundreds of full page color photos!), but you can find cheaper used ones in other places.  Here's a link to the Amazon page you can find lots of options on.

There are also a couple other versions of the book that are out (one is a two-book, 25 year anniversary set), but after looking at a couple previews of others, I don't think they have exactly the same content as this one.  However, if it has similar content and layout, it could easily be worth the money!

Flashback Summer: "Fashion" Book Review- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History From the 18th to the 20th Century

For an update on my Knit for Victory cardigan project, check out the Knit for Victory Flickr group (my username is emileighmimim)!

I did not collaborate with the author or publisher of this book for this post.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!

Perks of Being a College Student That Wears Vintage

from here
While seeing a college student in old vintage style is rare in my town and often brings stares and interesting comments, there are lots of perks to be in college and dressing vintage.  Especially in a student culture of pajama pants, sweats, t-shirts, and messy buns, I stick out quite a bit in my vintage wear.

Of course, there are days when I don't put forth so much effort.  Let's be real, when one is up 'til 2 am and up for an early morning class... perfect victory rolls are not priority.

However, I do make an effort most of the time!  And this effort has paid off in a lot of ways on my college campus, including the perks below!

1.  My look says "in control and responsible" instead of "floundering and frazzled."
Don't get me wrong, like I said above, I understand that sometimes college is frazzling, and sometimes that is expressed in clothing.
However, by scheduling enough time to do my hair and makeup and put on a nice outfit, I'm communicating that I am in control of my schedule.

2. I look original.
Maybe more so because I'm in a smaller town, but people know who I am, even if it's just as "weird hat girl."  I don't blend in namelessly with the crowd, and I am never caught wearing the same thing as someone else!

3. I don't have to replace my "trendy" clothes every few months.
Vintage is oftentimes made of classic, timeless pieces.  Things like blazers, pencil skirts, and blouses are still in style for a reason!

4.  I communicate self-respect.
Not only do I appear more professional in today's world, but the more modest styles of the past help me to communicate self-respect.  In no way do I judge all modern clothing (I do love quite a bit of it!), but a lot of it just shows so much skin for day-to-day wear.  It's entirely possible to be gorgeous and sexy without showing everything.  By covering up a bit more, I'm telling others (*cough* guys) that I am valuable, and they have to earn a special place in my heart before they get to see what I've got.

5.  Dressing vintage is a challenge.
I don't copy look books or fads, and I take the slightly more difficult route.  Vintage requires more research and, in my opinion, creativity.

6.  Vintage can be cheaper than new clothes.
Obviously not all the time, but think about it.  For what it is (tailored, well-made, quality clothing), vintage is oftentimes priced cheaper than new, tailored, well-made, quality clothing.  And there are lots of deals to be found!

6.  Men treat me with more respect.
Like it or not, it's true.  I have more men open doors for me, offer to carry things for me, compliment my appearance, etc. when I'm dressed in ladylike vintage.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  Call me old fashioned, but I don't want men to treat me as equals, as a "bro".  I want to be treated better than an equal, like a lady.  Having men treat me the same as they would treat each other is ignoring the fact that I am a woman, not a man.  I'd rather be treated as a woman with the unique talents and gifts that come with that, if you don't mind.
Alright, off my soapbox.

7.  Professors take me more seriously.
When I show up to class in a pencil skirt and blouse, I look ready to learn.  (Even if I'm struggling to stay awake, at least I give myself a leg up!)  Especially when doing presentations and such, dressing in classy vintage comes in handy.  I have scored bonus points on assignments for my professional outfits, in fact.  It works.

8.  People are more likely to accept my words because of my more professional appearance.
When I dress authoritatively, intelligently, confidently, and with pride and dignity, it helps my communication with others.  This vibe gives my words more weight.

from here

1930s Formal Gown

Last night my sister and I had the chance to attend a very formal annual banquet in one of the swankiest venues in town, Hammons Tower.  The tower is basically all of Springfield's "skyline".  (It's the black tower.)
from here
Anyway, it's very ritzy, so I was excited to finally whip out a black velvet dress I bought at a flea market recently.  It was all sad and torn in several places and just needed help, but I knew it had been GORGEOUS in its day and could be restored!!!

I set to work hemming, mending, sewing on more snaps, and getting it all cleaned up.  I was extremely pleased with the result, and I set about putting together the rest of my look.

The dress is a bit slinky from being cut on the bias, so I wanted a femme fatale/bombshell/old Hollywood glam sort of look.  I pin curled my hair in a Veronica Lake-like peekaboo set and put on gold earrings, a gold belt, and gold snakeskin pumps.

My friend Chelsea did my smoky eye makeup with her amazing skills. (She has a great Tumblr with lots of good makeup info; check it out here!)  I finished it off with some sparkly red lipstick from Estee Lauder called "Rebel Raspberry".

I apologize that I don't have better photos- I forgot my camera and had to use my not-so-great-at-photos phone- but I will attempt to give you a full picture of the ensemble with some good description!

My dress was a thin, black, velvet gown from the 1930s.  The top features a cowl neckline and loose sleeves that taper in at the wrists to a point that aligns with the ring finger on each hand.  The top is cut on the bias and, therefore, clings nicely without being tight.  There is a seam at the waist that connects the bodice to the skirt.  The skirt is also cut on the bias, making that clingy-but-not-tight silhouette that flares out slightly at the bottom.  The hem is at the ankle in the front and lengthens out to a short train in the back.  (Who said high-low skirts were a new invention?)  The back of the dress holds a glamorous surprise: diamond rhinestone buttons all the way down the back to the waist!.

I adore this dress.  It cost me about $20, too, which makes it even better!  The velvet is sumptuously drapey and thin, all the buttons are there, and the shape is conservative yet still quite classy and glamorous!


Guess This Vintage Gadget

A couple days ago I received a lovely Christmas package from my grandmother, and in a small box I found these lovely.... things (the claw-like clips attached to the purse).  I looked at them and had no idea what they are.  They're gold little clips with a fancy etching on them.  The hinge is pretty decorative, and they each have a small chain with a clasp on them.  My grandma had included a little answer paper for if I couldn't guess what they are.  Before letting you know, I'll let you ponder it...
(The answer is below all the outfit photos!)

And you know what else?  After I found out what they are, I showed them to Jacob.  I gave him two hints, that they are vintage and related to accessories.  He looked them over very carefully for a few minutes while I smugly smiled,thinking he couldn't possibly figure it out.  He isn't a vintage guy, so there was no way.  So I thought.

First try, he guessed it correctly.  Dang that boy.  He's like Sherlock Holmes with his crazy skills of deduction.

Also, my grandmother sent me the two orange and black bakelite bracelets and the orange earrings I'm wearing!  Aren't they amazing?  The orange bracelet has dragons carved into it as well, which I love.  I won't lie, there's just something about the tinkle of bakelite every time I've moved my arm today that I really like.  Hashtag vintage nerd.

Outfit Details:
sweater (minus one button... need. a. mending. day.): department store
tights: Kohl's
bakelite: gifted
hat: flea market (one of my first vintage hats!)
belt: resized by me
lucite bag: Relics
shoes: Payless kids
gloves: MJ's

And now for the answer..... (If you haven't guessed it already...)

They are little clips to hook onto your purse, and they hold your gloves!
How clever is that?  I know if I wore gloves more regularly, I'd be forgetting them all over the place.  Not with these clips I won't!

Did you guess correctly?!