Sartorial Saturday–My Favorite Things

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.”

The Herbology Dirndl from Rare Dirndl is my fourth dress from them, and it’s the one that most makes me feel like I’ve stepped right out of a scene in The Sound of Music. There’s something about the blue and brown dirndl combined with the plaid apron that just screams frolicking through the Alps to me!

I love the foliage print apron ties!

I also love that this particular style takes some inspiration from Professor Sprout…that makes my Hufflepuff heart happy!

I accessorized with lots of edelweiss (hair clip, earrings, and necklace), plus some beaded bracelets:

I think this will be a great look for fall!

But wait there’s more! When I placed my order, Rare Dirndl was running a special that included a bonus lace apron. According to my middle daughter, this particular pairing makes me look like Cinderella!

There’s such a lovely elegance to a lace apron.

It has the same beautiful foliage print ties as the plaid apron:

But I couldn’t just leave it at that, right? As soon as I saw the colors of the dirndl in person, I knew I had to pair it with my deer print apron from “Die Heimat” dirndl:

That, of course, meant a slight change in accessories, because a deer print apron calls for a bold Hirsch necklace!

This look is just as great as the first two…I love having the ability to mix and match aprons (I have a total of eight of them for my four dirndls).

The best thing about this dirndl is how absolutely versatile it is, and I have yet another styling in mind that I’m planning on trying out for Oktoberfest!

The End of Summer Blow-Out

On Thursday, we chased one last wild hair of mine for the summer, and drove up to Chicago for the day. We had a few goals, starting with visiting Buckingham Fountain, which we didn’t get to do in May…it was just as grand as I remembered it!

The place we really wanted to spend time at, though, was Navy Pier, the last really big thing on my list of Chicago things to share with the Fab Five. We walked all the way around it, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to do it…it was in the 70s with a beautiful lake breeze!

Seeing the anchor from the USS Chicago is kind of amazing…you just don’t realize the scale of the size of one until you see it for yourself!

The views from the Pier are amazing!

I also finally got to reunite some of my Homes Bracelets with the place they represent…Lake Michigan!

There was no way we could do all of the things, so I picked one big attraction…the Centennial Wheel. It is very similar in size to the Ferris wheel in St. Louis, but the views of the skyline and Lake Michigan are a lot more impressive than anything we have here in the Lou!

We stopped for Rainbow Cones after our ride. I really prefer the original Beverly location, because it has so much character, but the scenery made the five flavors taste even better!

We walked over to Polk Bros. Park just across the street:

We also shared a burger from the Billy Goat Tavern, just so we could say we had one:

And then we walked back through the mall and to the end of the Pier again:

I will never tire of the view!

The other big reason for our trip north was so that Bunny and I could visit the Rare Dirndl design studio, located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is a really cool place! We toured the studio, did some shopping, and most importantly of all, got to meet and talk to the designer, Erika Neumayer!

On the way home, we stopped at Portillo’s, as is our tradition:

I’m not going to lie…it was a lot of time to spend in the car in one day (although we certainly had days that were longer on our vacation!), but it was worth it to get to see Chicago one more time before the end of the summer!

Sartorial Saturday–The Everyday Dirndl

I’ve already shared my experiences with shopping for unique and beautiful dirndls with Rare Dirndl…now it’s time for a look at something a little more subtle from their shop, but still a form of National Dress that reflects my heritage!

Rare Dirndl offers an “Everyday Dirndl,” which has the same great structure and design as all of their dresses, but in a a solid color palette, where the apron matches the dress. There are also no hooks or ribbons on the front of the dress (although there is an option to add those for an additional fee), so at first glance, anyone who sees you out and about in your dirndl will think it’s a simple sundress…perfect for the first-time dirndl wearer!

I kept my accessories simple for this look, with some Homes Bracelets and a RockLove Nightmare Before Christmas necklace.

Oh, and my Docs, which are the perfect footwear for this dress!

I clearly have no qualms about wearing a full dirndl in public, but I had to get this more simple one because it’s my very favorite color, Pantone’s Color of the Year, periwinkle. The Everyday Dirndl is also available in a multitude of other colors, too, which vary by season.

Because the Everyday Dirndl is made in an easy-to-care-for fabric, you don’t have to worry as much about getting it dirty, since you can throw it in the washing machine!

The Everyday Dirndl is a made-to-order item, which means you have to be patient while it’s created, but that also means that it’s customizable which makes it feel even more one-of-a-kind! I’m looking forward to seeing what colors are available in the future, because you never know when you just need to add another dirndl to your closet!

Sartorial Saturday–National Dress

Today I’m taking a look at something completely different!

I have always loved national dress, from Norway’s bunad to the sari of South Asia. And I have long lamented the fact the the US really doesn’t have ethnic dress, unless you count jeans (which I don’t). But my ethnic heritage (Austrian and German) does have a traditional garment for women in the form of the dirndl, something I have long wanted to add to my wardrobe, and Ryan bought me a purple and floral one for an early Christmas present!

This beautiful dirndl is from Rare Dirndl, a small business located in Chicago (where else?!?). It consists of a purple dress and a gorgeous floral print apron, and I’m wearing it with a Rare Dirndl puff sleeve, lace-trim blouse. Also, the best clothing designers know that women want pockets in their dresses, and Rare Dirndl is no exception!

The details on the dress are amazing (look at the pleated trim around the neckline and the piping down the front!), and the workmanship is outstanding (check out how well the hooks on the front are sewn on, and with such a beautiful color of thread, too…it almost looks like they’re set with gemstones!). The print of the apron is fantastic, too…it has a metallic sheen, and the colors are so vibrant…and the strings are actually long enough to fit me properly, which was a huge concern of mine. It is seriously the most well-made and best fitting dress I have ever had (and I have a lot of dresses!).

To accessorize, I added a purple fedora and a petticoat with a lace edge meant to be seen:

I added a leather Edelweiss clip to my hat (also from Rare Dirndl), and then moved it to my hair, just for fun. It can also be worn as a brooch…I love a versatile accessory!

Here’s a look at the whole outfit sans hat:

Rare Dirndl also offers some lovely jewelry, and many of the pieces feature Edelweiss, a flower often associated with Austria. The scalloped necklace is so delicate and beautiful, and I love the pop of color of the wrap bracelet! (I added one of my Lake Michigan HOMES bracelets in a coordinating color, since I’m celebrating my heritage.)

I’m ready to twirl my way through the Alps!

This is my first dirndl, but it won’t be last…I’m already waiting for my second Rare Dirndl dress to arrive! Erika was such a huge help in answering all of my questions and making sure I got the dirndl of my dreams, so I’m really excited to support her small business again! It’s really not a jump for me to go from retro dressing to ethnic dressing, because they both include a nod to the past in a new, modern way, so I feel comfortable wearing this outfit not just to German events (I can’t wait to style it for Belleville’s Christkindlmarkt in a few weeks), and it’s definitely not a costume item to me. I’m looking forward to sharing more photos of my national dress(es) as I style them in different ways throughout the seasons!

Sartorial Saturday–Flashback Fashion

Most of wardrobe is retro fashion, focusing on the 1940s-60s, but occasionally, I like to flashback to a different time…the 90s!

I loved the overalls of the 90s. Other styles of this fashion have come and gone since, but they were never cut quite the same. But when I saw these overalls from Old Navy, as part of their new Bod Equality campaign, I knew that they were just what I was looking for. And to really emphasize the throwback theme, I added some Care Bears brooches from Erstwilder, and a stack of HOMES bracelets with a center stone from one of my favorite childhood locations, Lake Michigan:

This is what confidence looks like. Despite the fact that some people would say that plus-sized women shouldn’t wear overalls, and others would say that if you’re old enough to have worn a trend the last time it was popular you shouldn’t wear it again, I’m still wearing them, simply because I like them and feel great in them! I’m really thankful that I’ve a reached a place in my life where I can dress with this kind of confidence!

Valentine’s Day in the Time of COVID-19

We’ve never been big into Valentine’s Day around here, but we still had a fun day, and we definitely didn’t miss going out to eat, since we never do, anyway!

We’re looking forward to more fun this week with Mardi Gras!

Sartorial Saturday…On a Sunday–The Top Five Fashions of 2020

We’ve finally made it to the final week of 2020! To commemorate the end of this past year that has been a decade long, I’m beginning a series of “Top Five” posts, because even in the middle of a pandemic, I like making lists. I’m starting with my favorite fashions from this year, most of which weren’t worn away from home, but are still worth noting.

To start, here’s a look at my favorite HOMES bracelet stack, from their birthstone collection. These bracelets have been very important to me, because they have helped me feel connected to Chicago and Lake Michigan during a time when I could visit neither, plus they’re really pretty!

My second fashion is from the second “Dapper Day at Home” of the year. I love everything about this look I put together, from the hat to the handbag, and especially my first Miss Candyfloss dress!

I figured one of my top five fashions should focus on this year’s hottest accessory, the mask. I really love this Christmas mask from Old Navy, and the accessories I paired with it!

Speaking of Christmas, one of my very favorite looks from this year is the outfit I wore last week to the outdoor Christmas Eve service we attended. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to wear my cape and muff together, so I was pretty excited to have a reason to wear both!

And finally, a look so new, I haven’t even featured it on my website yet (stay tuned)! I was super excited to order this beautiful purple-striped Stephanie swing dress from Pinup Girl Clothing on Pink Friday, and I love the way this look turned. out, especially with Spiffy the Sausage Dog making an appearance on my cardigan!

So there’s a look at my favorite fashions from this year. Maybe at some point in 2021, I’ll have a reason to wear some of them somewhere other than at home!

Sartorial Saturday–HOMES Bracelets

I’ve shared a little bit about HOMES bracelets and what they mean to me, especially during a time when I can’t travel to see my favorite Great Lake…now it’s time to appreciate how beautiful they are, and what a wonderful addition they make to my accessories collection!

I started with three bracelets (Petoskey, Sunstone, and Peacock), each with a center bead created from earth from the shores of Lake Michigan. They were a birthday gift from Ryan, and I quickly added two more blues (Torch Lake Blue and the June exclusive Robin Egg). I love wearing some or all five bracelets together.

I have paid attention to new releases on their website since then (the August exclusive, Blush, is gorgeous!), but I managed to have some restraint until I saw their new birthstone collection. The bead colors are stunning, and since they were having a buy two, get one free sale, I was able to get the three I think are the prettiest…Tourmaline, Ruby in Zoisite, and Amethyst.

The quality of these bracelets is excellent, and I appreciate that they’re available in four different sizes, from 6 to 7.5 inches in circumference. I love pairing them with different outfits…sometimes with my Splendette Duchess Bangles, and sometimes on their own.

There are so many more beautiful options available…I plan on keeping on eye on the monthly exclusives, and someday, I might even get birthstone bracelets for each of my children. I’d also really love to get a “Leland Blue” with its beautiful blue center bead, too, because that style is particularly unique and special!

Sartorial Saturday–A Classic Combination

I know it’s still early in August, and we’ve got plenty of days in the 90s ahead of us, but I’m already thinking about fall. And what is a more classic combination for fall than a cardigan and skirt?

I love this floral swing skirt from Unique Vintage. Its color palette is just different enough to be really interesting. The cool grey background is lovely, and the flowers themselves are in enough colors to offer lots of options for coordinating.

I paired the skirt with a Yemak cropped cardigan over a Pinup Girl Clothing peasant top in complementary shades of blue:

I decided to go with green and brown accessories this time, with a Splendette Duchess bangles stack as well as my HOMES bracelets, and the ever-adorable Erstwilder Slothertons.

When you add in a pair of boots, it’s the perfect look for fall!

What is your go-to outfit for cooler weather?

A Childhood Recollection

When I was a kid growing up in the Chicago suburbs, not too terribly far from Lake Michigan, I always screwed up the acronym that was supposed to help you remember the Great Lakes. You know…HOMES? Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. For some reason, my brain always thought the acronym was HOUSE, and I could never figure out which Great Lake started with “U”, completely overlooking the fact that my acronym ignored the Great Lake most local to me!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the last week, since Ryan gave me these cool bracelets, each of which have a center bead composed of earth from the shores of Lake Michigan, for my birthday.

Now that I’m an adult, I don’t have any trouble remembering the names of the Great Lakes, and I love that I now have a way to carry a bit of my favorite lake with me, even during a time when I can’t travel to see it!