The Great Dickens Fair

‘Tis the season for great merriment and a ho ho ho, so off to a Victorian London I go!

The annual Dickens Fair is a holiday party that takes place in Victorian London in the 1800s. Although I am a vintage lover, I admit my knowledge only goes as far back as the 1920s. Anything in the century before that I am quite clueless, so even I had to brush up on the era of dress that bears my name.

The Victorian Era refers to Queen Victoria’s reign in the United Kingdom, from the 1830s-1901. Boned corsets, layers of petticoats, décolletage revealing necklines, and bonnets are just a few hallmarks of womens’ Victorian style dress, while the Victorian gentleman often sported a top hat, frock coat, and walking cane. Attending the Dickens Fair was like a fashion history lesson, because not only are the characters and entertainers are decked out to the Victorian nines, but attendees are also encouraged to dress the part. Who can’t refuse being outfitted in period dress? Certainly not I! A hoop skirt I do not have, but I’ve got the tulle time for Yuletide.

Stepping into the arena, I felt transported through time. A stomping river dance performance to my left, sounds of British English in my ears, and the smell of roasted chestnuts – crikey, it was a Victorian sensory overload! The Grand Concourse was festooned with Union Jack flags and strings of lights, while the streets were dusted with freshly fallen fake snow. Pubs, eating establishments, theaters, music halls, and purveyors of Victorian wares lined the streets of old London into a merry holiday fanfare that never ceased to entertain.

I curtseyed to her majesty Queen Victoria as she made her way through the streets, sang along with carolers to my favorite Christmas songs, and oogled at just about everyone’s Victorian outfits, taking note of how I could improve my ensemble for greater vintage precision next year (a bonnet is a must!). And just as accurately as it would happen in old Victorian London, I attended a riveting reading of A Christmas Carol by Sir Charles Dickens himself.

Nevermind the Ghost of Christmas Past, this has to got be the best Christmas Present yet. God save the queen!

Vintage blazer (similar) | Vintage faux fur stole (similar) | Vintage blouse (similar) | fascinator (similar) | Anthropologie skirt (similar) | vintage oxfords (similar) | vintage dooney & bourke (similar)

The Red Coat

The last two years I’ve traded in celebrating the holidays with family and friends for foreign places and faces. This year I finally stayed put and indulged over home cooked feasts amidst the company of loved ones. This was also my first time in a long while participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange, and it was nice to receive a gift off my wish list. But there one thing that my Secret Santa cannot deliver, unless he’s my sugar daddy: a trip far, far away.

To where I’d like to travel come same time next year is yet to be determined. Bora bora? Morocco? Or maybe unconsciously I’d like to find myself at Buckingham Palace, facing off with a Redcoat on who wears the red coat best.

A red coat epitomizes all things holiday, joyous, and oh come all ye faithful. Some gals love handbags, others adore shoes, but my weakness lies in coats and jackets. I collect many, even though its hardly ever cold enough to merit wearing some of the knee length beauties that are collecting dust in my closet. Note to self: ask for garment bags next year.

With all the post holiday sales going on, you can easily nab yourself a fanciful red coat that won’t break the bank. I think I have scarlet fever, and the only cure for it will be another red coat to add to my bank of coats. Here are my top red coat picks for under $100.

1 ModCloth / 2 Nautica / 3 INC / 4 Calvin Klein / 5 Romwe / 6 Wallis / 7 PepaLoves
8 Ivanka Trump / 9 Anne Klein

Red Coats

I wore a holiday inspired palette to Christmas brunch and dinner last week, incorporating colors none other than red, white, and a hint of green. Gold, I am missing, but blame that on the three kings’ delayed delivery. My tracking number says they are westward leading, still proceeding to California. I scored this awesome red coat from a vintage sale during the summer, and was more than overjoyed to finally make its debut to the world. With my church hat on, I was ready for Sunday mass or even an evening of caroling. Sadly, I did neither. Should I pay a visit to my dear friend the Queen for high tea again? I hear London is quite beautiful during this time of year. This fair lady has no plans set in stone yet for December 2015 travel, but I guess I’ll just cross that London Bridge when I come to it.

It’s so hard to say cheerio to yesterday. Hats off to 2014 with this one last outfit post. Happy New Year everyone!

Red + Green Holidaze

There’s an elephant in the room and it isn’t white. Because white shouldn’t be worn after Labor Day, duh.

If you’re wondering what to wear to that white elephant party, look no further than your Christmas tree. The red, green, and sparkle that are associated with the holiday’s décor can be applied to your outfits as well. This is the only time of year that you can pull off these color combinations while being appropriately called the Grinch, Santa, or a Ho (ho ho). I’ve been nice and naughty; may I have hot coal with that?

Red and green can be effectively worn together with careful accessorizing. I cheated with this awesome 80s dress that has pops of bright red roses with olive green foliage, purchased at Salvation Army during one of their regular weekend sales (50% off all clothes!). All it needed was some TLC: I removed the shoulder pads, reinforced the buttons, washed, and pressed it. I didn’t think my outfit screamed Christmas until someone at work exclaimed, “What a great holiday dress!”

This dress is an example of 1980’s “power dressing.” As more women started to enter the work force in that decade, the emergence of shoulder pads became in vogue in order for women to feel equal to their male counterparts. The rise in shoulder pad popularity correlates with women’s increasing role in the work place, as evidenced in the 1940s war era as well. In fact, some fads synonymous with 1980s fashion can be traced back to the 1940s.

To soften the power-dress look and stay warm in the frosty weather, I added a vintage knit sweater cape with gold detail buttons that I found at Mercy Vintage. As there are no visible tags, I can only imagine it was lovingly knit by some adorable granny in her rocking chair with a pet cat named Sylvester at her feet. I completed the look with herringbone fishnets and a pair of high platform peep-toe pumps with rhinestone details to keep the outfit from looking dated. All I am missing is a poinsettia or mistletoe brooch on my cape.

Santa, I hope I don’t get stuck with a shake weight this year.

The Grinch