What’s in a name? Playsuits, culottes and jumpsuits!

70s jumpsuit from Quirky PurpleIn 1977 the Queen came to visit my local town of Mansfield. It was the Silver Jubilee and if I remember correctly, she had come to open the new library.

When we were kids we only used to get new clothes at certain times of the year, like Whitsun or summer holidays. Well I was getting old enough that I could choose what I wanted, obviously within a pretty strict budget, and this particular time I chose a jumpsuit and a blue nylon bomber jacket.

The jumpsuit was fabulous! I was in a khaki brown colour, full arms and legs and had patches on it like an American car mechanic overalls. I was rocking it. I was so enamoured with it I wore it to see the Queen. People like Charlie’s Angles were the sort of girls that wore jumpsuits…

See how I called it a jumpsuit?

Jumpsuits were quite new, modern things as in the 60s the word ‘catsuit’ was used to describe an all in one. Think Cat Woman in the old Batman series, which incidentally was my favorite thing on the telly when I was 18 months old (and I have pictures from the local paper to prove t).

80s playsuit from Quirky PurpleRoll on a bit to the 80s and something similar crops up. In the 80s there were a lot of culottes. These could be skirts or dresses, the dress was usually being the button front style and not really being noticeable as being culottes rather than a dress. Calling them jumpsuits would have seemed old-fashioned.

In the 90s I remember dungarees being the closest to jumpsuits or culottes, but I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t have been seen dead in them…

So moving forward again we seem to have had a little resurgence of these similar styles. This time around they are called playsuits. They look a little like the 80s culottes but more suited to the beach or a night out

80s playsuit from Quirky PurpleIt’s actually been very interesting from a vintage point of view as 80s culottes have been very popular again and I’ve been sending them all around the world. I guess they are very wearable and can look smart enough for work, or dressy enough for a night out. Some are really lovely takes on 40s style tea dresses.

There’s one thing I’ve omitted to mention so far. Rompers. Hmm, to me these are something that a child would wear, or maybe one of those adults that like to dress as babies. Clearly I haven’t got the full picture as I discovered last year that this is what some other countries call our culottes.

So, it just brings me round to, what’s in a name?

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101 things to do with a vintage computer

clockOK maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There’s not 101 things to do with a vintage computer in this blog, but there are a few really cool things that I found.

My old laptop is really on its last legs now. It gets really warm, which to be honest at the moment is a bit like having  a heated lap blankie, so not terrible. A couple of weeks ago my second power cable started playing up which isn’t useful when the battery only last about 20 minutes. And yes, I have done the usual trick of sticking my battery in the freezer…

To cut a long story short, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered a new laptop. As much as I love nice shiny techie things due to my geeky nature, I do grow very attached to my laptops.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I started working in IT when it was called Computing and desktop computers didn’t exist. OK, I know that really dates me, but wheat the hell. I like technology. I ended up working in IT because I read a lot of science fiction and the guy at the Job Centre made it sound like I’d be working on the Star Ship Enterprise. I ended up delivering print outs to Finance….

I digress, it got me thinking about what happens to all those old computers. In the 1990s one of the hardware guys at work made me a desk clock out of an old floppy disk and I thought it was pretty cool. I like remaking vintage things, so I though I’d so a spot of research. Here are some of  my findings.

Jewellery is pretty popular, and interesting other things to wear. I can’t imagine that any of these are comfortable or practical to wear…

Now, these two together would make just about any party go… a BBQ and a beer dispenser!

In this next gallery, I like the mix of technology and nature. These old bits of technology are now being used to grow things. I’m wondering if I could manage a ‘vintage computer installation’ down at my allotment…

Finally, I couldn’t miss putting these last ones up. It’s a really mixture – a cat bed, a mail box, a sun catcher, a dragonfly and a loo roll holder!

I’m not sure if any of this has given me any inspiration for what I could do with my old laptop. I think I might just keep it as a lap warmer until the summer arrives…

Hurrah – we’ve started doing men’s vintage!

Well quite exciting news, or what?

We’ve started to stock some items of men’s vintage. I’ve just been photographing the first batch and getting them ready to go on the online shop.

This first batch are mainly men’s vintage tops, including Lacoste, Polo and some cool collared mod tops.

Here’s a sneaky peek at what will be going online this afternoon –

Men's vintage tops

I’ve got a few more items to sort through yet, but I’ve been a little way laid with sorting out some lovely vintage wedding frocks that I picked up a couple of weeks ago…

You can find our Men’s Vintage section here. I’ll be adding more as I sort through!

Vintage buttons – it’s all about attention to detail!

I was photographing a few items to put onto the Online Shop yesterday and was admiring some of the buttons on a vintage 1960s dress. It reminded me of how much attention to detail you find in vintage clothes.

I specialise in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s clothes and even the day to day wear dresses all have those little touches. It might be a matching belt in the same fabric or a completely contrasting belt with matching buttons. But it is buttons that really tend to make the difference in the look and the feeling of it being ‘complete’. They very often give the simple garment that luxury touch!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ignoring the quality of vintage clothes. They were made to last, which is why they are still around and still good enough to wear. I’ve even got some handmade dresses from the 1970s and these are massively superior to anything mass-produced for the High Street.

Here are some of the buttons I found that are used for contrast or highlight on the garments:

This gallery shows the buttons that are made to blend in with the garment or just match the material or colour. Sometimes it’s even difficult to pick out the buttons from the material itself:

They really make the outfit, don’t they?

You can also pick up original vintage buttons in some charity shops, if you don;t mind searching through pots of them. Usually you can pick up enough to make a set, and they are perfect for using on handmade or remade items.

And hopefully you’ve only paid ‘button’s for them..

Feeling shirty?

Shirts are one of those things that never really go out of fashion and many styles are real vintage wardrobe staples.

Think about some of those classic black and white films from the 30s and 40s, you can see some real classic shirts styles on the screen icons.

Shirts were always a big thing for mod girls in the late 70s and early 80s. If you were lucky you could get them from local charity shops, but more likely from Carnaby Street or London markets. Long collars, button-down collars, plain, checked, striped or paisley, teaming them up with a pair of hipster trousers was always a cool look.

Cool shirtsRecently I’ve managed to get hold of some really cool shirts that fit that same sort of style – that mod, come psychedelic, come smart hippy. There are some geometric patterns, checks, velvet and even some frills. They all have one thing in common though – lovely long collars!

Reworked shirts are also still very big at the moment, and you can see them in all the High Street shops. Usually though these seem to be a lower quality cotton with those ‘stuck on’ studs. It’s much better to get a vintage or reworked shirt from an independent shop. They will have made all the changes themselves and you’ll get a real individual piece.

A little while ago I did a blog post on re-working shirts, which you can find here.

Reworked shrtsWe still have a few reworked shirts in the online shop, in various sizes and colours.

There are both sleeveless and long-sleeved, but they can also be made to order, by dropping us a note here.

You can find many of these styles at the Quirky Purple online shop.

What’s your favourite style?

Big, bright and bold 80s

A little while ago I did a post about 80s colours – Sorbet, sherbet, candy cane – fashion that’s good enough to eat. That was more about the softer side of 80s colours. This week I’ve been posting up some vintage 80s clothes onto the Quirky Purple One Shop and they all seemed to be the bolder brighter 80s colours and it got me thinking.

As anyone who knows me or has read previous posts, you’ll know that I am a big fan of all things 60s. I properly discovered and became fanatical about the 60s in the late 70s. The 60s look was just starting to hit mainstream with films like Quadrophenia and then all the mod revival and Two Tone and ska bands suddenly hitting the charts.

This started a whole raft of 60s inspired clothes, colours and patterns in the High Street. Well, if you ignored the ra-ra skirts, leg warmers and hammer-pants…. The 60s and the 80s were both about big, bold and bright colours. Stripes and geometric patterns and of course big colour blocking was in – this didn’t have to just be the bright colours, but monochrome worked just as boldly with black and white contrast. That’s one of the keys here – contrast.

Anyway, as I was cropping the photos I’d taken of the dresses and playsuits it really struck me on how vivid some of this outfits are and the fantastic contrasts. Have a look at these:

Bright 80s coloursMore bright 80s coloursThey look fab don’t they? The other weird thing is that these are all original 80s vintage, but if you walk through the High Street you’ll see similar colors, patterns and styles. The great thing about wearing the originals though is that you are unlikely to walk into a room and see someone else wearing the same outfit!

Anyway, all the items pictured are either up for sale on our Quirky Purple Online Store or about to go up online.

Monochrome, mods and sods

Quadrophenia_albumThere was a fab documentary on the BBC a few days ago about the writing of the Quadrophenia album. Here’s a link to the information on the BBC site – Quadrophenia – Can you see the real me?

Watching this really transported me back in time a few years. As a teenager I was a die hard mod and Quadrophenia was seen as a soundtrack to a mod’s life.

And as a mod, monochrome was the perfect colour scheme, along with plenty of olive green. In case you’re not hip enough to understand that, well olive green is the colour of old army parkas. You had to have an original one that looked a bit battered and certainly not a snorkel parka from a high street store – that would be a ‘plastic parka’ and you’d be in danger of being a ‘plastic mod’.

Mods in the 80sWhen I first started to dress like a mod I had a couple of black and white dresses which I had saved up for and bought from high street shops. This was just before I discovered the joys of charity shops, and all the 60s clothes that they sold for pretty much pennies! Yeah, I know, charity shops aren’t like this anymore. All the good stuff is sold off before it reaches the shops and then what’s left in the shops, is actually quite expensive. Of course there are exceptions, but it’s rare to find them these days.

Anyway, once a mod, always a mod. So, monochrome still tends to feature high on my list of faves.

Monochrome at Quirky PurpleAt Quirky Purple we have some cool vintage monochrome for sale in our online shop and have been having a Mid-Week Monochrome Auction, which ends this week. There are lots of sizes and styles.

Check them here – Monochrome Auction items

Do you have any fave mod outfits from past or present?

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