Recreating Lizzie Bennet’s Brown Frolicking Frock

Recreating Lizzie Bennet’s Brown Frolicking Frock

“First, I must tell you how ardently I love this dress. From the moment I saw it, I never wished to be parted with it from that day on.”

If you’re as big a fan as I am of the 2005, Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, you’ll recognize the above quote, though it is slightly altered. 🙂 There are a few films that I can play all the way through in my head, scene by scene and this is one of them. The other two are The Wiggles Magical Adventure, and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Take that information as you will.

Here’s my recreation of the opening title.

Fun Fact: the book Lizzie is reading as she walks in the opening scene is actually text from the last page of “First Impressions,” the original title Jane Austen put down for today’s Pride and Prejudice. The book I’m holding is a 1903 edition of Pride and Prejudice. I recently discovered that walking and reading at the same time is a skill yet to be acquired.

Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice, 2005.

Out of all the beautiful gowns in the film, this one is my favorite, and I instantly knew I had to make it for myself. After a LONG time researching and looking for the right materials (I went to so many fabric stores to find this exact fabric, and finally found it at a random Joann’s) I started to self-draft the pattern. As with any of my recreated film costumes, I always watch the movie it appears in as I sew. It’s a cool experience! Until the movie is over and there’s only half a bodice completed because Mr. Bingley is having a ball, Lydia has run away, and Charlotte Lucas is engaged to be married!

I looked at a LOT of still shots of Keira wearing this gown, and attempted to replicate (almost) every pleat, seam, and detail visible. The most important thing for me was getting the silhouette right. Long live trial and error. I also had the white blouse to figure out. I was about to start drafting a pattern when I realized that I already had a white blouse exactly like this. It even had the overlapping shoulder seams like the original. All I had to do was make a wider collar and hand sew it on, which I must admit, is already coming loose. That’s something I’ll have to fix.

A little disclaimer: this dress is not historically accurate to the era in which Pride and Prejudice occurs. It was designed by Jacqueline Durran, (who also designed the dreadfully inaccurate costumes for Little Women, 2019 which I despise and ranted about in this post. . . but let’s overlook that). As long as it is duly stated that this gown is not accurate to the regency times, we may continue. I may be a bit of a hypocrite, but I do believe Durran’s work in Pride and Prejudice proves much more historically accurate than in Little Women. Speaking as someone who has studied Victorian fashion, and not Regency.

This was absolutely the most fun day, running around in fields with my sister until sunset, playing the soundtrack to the film along the way, and saying almost every quote we could remember. I felt like I was in the movie. Although dressing like a fictional character from another century can definitely deliver you some odd looks, finger points, and quiet conversations as people walk away, it wasn’t as bad as I had predicted. Even in the mall afterwards, I didn’t seem to notice too many people questioning my attire, (yes, I went into a busy mall in this dress to pick up my other sister, and yes it was pretty fun).

A quick review of the opening scene.

I’m definitely not the first to recreate this design, nor the last. There are multiple YouTuber’s videos/tutorials out there that show the whole process of creating this gown, if you’re interested in making one of your own. Here are some of my tips for recreating this gown:

  1. Make sure your fabric is correct (I used a thin linen.) I’d also recommend buying it in person and not online. Photos and descriptions can be deceiving.

2. Make it a wrap dress. I’m not sure if this is specific to the original, but I think it’s a lot easier not only to make, but to put on and actually use as a functioning dress. I added ties to both the inside and outside flaps. The buttons aren’t really doing much.

3. Wear proper undergarments. I wore a cotton chemise, regency half-stays, and a white petticoat under the dress, but by all means you don’t HAVE to. (After all it’s not even a historically accurate dress). Putting on any ankle length skirt underneath should be good enough to fill out the dress properly and help with the flow of the fabric. But you definitely need something to help with the fullness of the skirt.

4. If you don’t feel comfortable drafting the pattern yourself or just hand draping it as you go, find some paper patterns that are similar to this design. Maybe you can find a separate one for the skirt, one for the bodice, and one for the blouse. Having a dress form really helped with draping; it’s nearly impossible to make a fitted garment without one.

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Which did you experience first: the book or the movie (or the 90s series in which I do not find favor)?

Who’s your favorite P & P character?

When was the last time you ran around in a field? If it wasn’t yesterday, my sincere condolences.

The Spring Brings Art Shows and Allergies

The Spring Brings Art Shows and Allergies

Every spring my family and I attend an annual art show, held at an historic site. It’s been tradition, for almost as long as I can remember. As kids, we would always be given a scavenger hunt paper at the front door: find a painting with five dogs in it, how many red barns can you spot, can you find a sculpture made out of marble? We’d work together, give each other hints until we found everything. I know there was a prize at the end, but I don’t remember what it was. We’ve all grown taller now, so we don’t get scavenger hunt papers anymore, unfortunately. I did glance to see if they still had them, and I didn’t see any. Perhaps the children of today are not as lucky as we were in our youth, without any artistic scavenger hunts.

It was a cloudy and humid day with puddles reminding us of the morning rain. There’s something about this kind of weather that makes my allergies worse than usual, and from the time I woke up, I knew it was going to be a sneezy day. Then put me in an old (and somewhat musty) building and I WILL NOT stop sneezing. Since it’s hereditary, my family knows better than to say “bless you” after every sneeze. They say, “bless you for the rest of the day” and that’s that. However, the strangers throughout the building just trying to look at art peacefully couldn’t have known this and gave their blessings anyway.

The first floor of the building is where the larger (and most sizably priced) art pieces are displayed, many by well-known artists from the area. Room after room full of art, some old and some new. I wish I had remembered to choose my favorite among them, but I was too busy sneezing, I think. These photos are from upstairs, where the smaller pieces are kept. Some of them are so pretty, I’d like to fill an entire bedroom wall with tiny little frames, instead of wallpaper. And I would paint them myself in order to make that happen, however, I have no talent for painting. Truely, it’s something I am absolutely no good at. (Insert a horrified Lady Catherine de Bourgh scoffing at the fact that I do not draw).

There are so many paintings each year, they resort to hang them over the windows, so there this odd sense of dimension to the art. There’s a canvas with its colorful display, then the frame, then behind it a sheet of glass encased in its own frame (aka the window), and then another display beyond that, one of nature.

These old ruins have intrigued me since forever and seeing them from afar makes them look all the more mysterious. It reminds me of Jane Eyre. P.S. who else thinks that Mr. Rochester is totally creepy and not romantic at all? Anybody?

Being out in the fresh air again seemed to lessen my sneezing, long enough to get some photos outside. And a big thanks to the lady who offered to take a few pictures of my sister and me, even though I had my eyes closed in all of them, as I usually do.

Despite the allergies, it was a wonderful day spent with people I love, and filled with childhood flashbacks. There’s really nothing like the feeling of reliving a day from your past. It was so familiar, yet still new. And nothing makes you feel more like a kid again than running around some old ruins.

And here is a completely unrelated photo of Raisin and Charlotte the sheep, being absolutely adorable.

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dress: Little Women Atelier

shoes: thrifted

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How do you deal with Spring allergies?

What kind of art is your favorite?

Have you read Jane Eyre? If yes, seriously why did he think it was a good idea to dress up like a gypsy? Why?!

A Day at the Museum // And Other Adventures

A Day at the Museum // And Other Adventures

Well, well, well. I’ve again returned from the tight clutches of reality to my special little place on the internet, and with good reason. (Yes, I am celebrating my blog’s fifth anniversary this week, but that is not the reason for my posting.) I’ve happened to experience a day of glorious adventures, and not far from home. I do believe that I went overboard with editing these photos. Some I edited to make them look vintage, others are overedited because of poor indoor lighting. I only ask you to overlook the ones less than desirable, as they show their quality. *insert Faramir meme here*

There was a special exhibit at one of my favorite museums, one that my sister and I immediately planned to see as soon as the museum announced its arrival. I knew I had to dress vintage for the trip.

There was no particular decade to this outfit, it was a more of a mish-mash. . . pardon me, a “collection” of different decades. The dress was given to me by a friend (thanks Miss Sue) and I altered it a bit to make it appear more vintage. I’d like to think that it could fit into either the 30s, or 40s. However, some of these photos remind me of ones from the 1970s. Let’s just say, I was a time traveler that day.

You may be wondering about this special exhibit, the one I was so excited to visit. Well, first take a guess. . . hint: It rhythms with Hatharine Kepburn. I’ll give you a moment to think real hard on this one.

Did you get it? Of course, you did. Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses (pictured here with Cary Grant from the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby, which also happens to be one of my favorite movies).

I was lucky enough to be in the presence of many of Katharine Hepburn’s film costumes spanning over her entire career. Two large rooms were filled with gowns, suits, shoes, accessories, and personal items that once belonged to her. I could have spent hours in front of each display, it was captivating to be so close to history, and old Hollywood. Pictured below are just some of the many costumes in the exhibit.

Here’s her famous black gown from Adam’s Rib (1949).

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).

The Philadelphia Story (1940), Stage Door (1937), The Little Minister (1934), and then Me (2021).

The Lion in Winter (1968), and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962).

Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986).

Her personal everyday shoes.

The Lake (1933) Broadway Play.

These three above are from a TV show, The Corn is Green, from 1979. A lot of the costumes were from productions I’d never seen before, like this one. My list of movies and shows to watch had doubled after leaving the museum.

Oh, yeah, there was also a Lego exhibit. . .

After the museum, my sister and I had some adventures around town.

This was right around the time when a motorcycle gang showed up. They also decided to blow out two sports car engines (sounded like literal canon fire) for five minutes straight. It was strange, hence my expression and awkward stance above. The gang also asked if I had any hand sanitizer they could use, and yes, I gave them some out of my car. They now ride around town with jackets embroidered, “The Germ-Free Angels.” No they don’t, I made up that last part.

All in all, it was a wonderful day of adventures. I hope you can set aside a day to have one just as good this week. Always have a friend with you, never forget to buy some chocolate milk on the way, and always give a motorcycle gang some hand sanitizer upon request.

Dress // gifted

Shoes // thrifted

Clutch purse // thrifted

Hairclip // gifted

I Made Jo’s White Dress // Little Women 1994

I Made Jo’s White Dress // Little Women 1994

It was love at first sight. The glorious white dress worn by Winona Ryder (who, as we all know, played Jo March in the best film version of Little Women ever made) was clearly a moment of pure inspiration to my eyes. I strongly declared to myself, that one day, I would recreate it so that I might run through airy fields and wander in an ever deepening forest. And as of late, I am happily able to say that I’ve done all three of those things!

First, here are photos of the original dress, designed by Colleen Atwood:

Little Women, 1994. Costumes designed by Colleen Atwood.

If someone were to ask me how I made it, I would justifiably tell them, “I don’t really know.” I hand draped it piece by piece until it looked right, then sewed it together and voila! I didn’t use a pattern for any of the pieces (half because I couldn’t find any to use, the other half because I despise patterns). The sheer white fabric, I found on a four-foot roll at a thrift shop for $8. The under petticoat cotton was from Joann’s on sale for around $12. The blue ribbon was $4, and lastly the four buttons I used for the front closure and the cuffs, I already had. So in total, the entire dress cost was only $24 and about 10 hours of work. Some of the smaller areas, like the cuffs and front ruffles, I sewed by hand, but the rest was done by machine (except for the hem, because the sheer fabric is VERY thin and I didn’t want an ugly puckered line going around the bottom). I also purposely double hemmed it, making it too short so I wouldn’t get it dirty when I inevitably explored the countryside. If I ever want it longer, all I have to do is snip one thread and I easily gain two more inches at the bottom.

Once it was finally complete, I trekked to my favorite Civil War battlefield and lived out an entire day as Jo March. It was wonderful, until I realized the swarm of tics and crickets attached to my skirts! Nevertheless, such bothers can be quickly remedied. It was a magical day of seemingly endless joy and adventure. Sometimes it feels as though ordinary life is just the time we spend in between our last fairytale day and our next.

Carrying around my leather-bound copy of Charles Dickon’s Pickwick Papers made me feel like Jo all the more!

The dress was designed to mimic what we call a “chemise a la reine” or a “gaulle,” made popular by Marie Antoinette. So, give or take a few minor changes, this dress works for both the 18th and 19th centuries. Just change the ribbon, throw on an oversized straw hat with flowers and feathers, and you’re ready to step into another century! I’d say this style is a true classic in the category that is historical attire, with as much versatility as any other piece of clothing I can think of!

Of course, it’s not a perfect match and I don’t look much like Winona, but side by side, I’d like to say it’s a semi-good imitation of the dress! There will always be room for improvement, and my next project should be slightly better in both quality and resemblance (at least I hope).

The post would never be complete without a mandatory dress spinning shot.

Out of all the literary characters to exist in the world, I think that I connect with Jo March more than any other, even more than Anne Shirley or Lizzy Bennet, I’d say. Jo and I are both writers, we like to wear the same things, we have three other siblings, we’re both the second eldest, and we think very much alike. So, I’m glad that this dress was my first film recreation project, the first among many to come!

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Which film costume would you want to recreate most?

What film has your favorite costumes in it of all time?

Can you guess what costume project I’m working on next?!

Leave a comment!

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Megan Joy

Seven Vintage Fashion Bloggers You Need to Follow

Seven Vintage Fashion Bloggers You Need to Follow

Hello, one and all! I’d love to share a collection of vintage fashion bloggers that are so very inspiring and deserve recognition.

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Many of them listed below are ones that I followed even before I began Simply Megan Joy, and were the main inspirations to have my own blog! So check them out and give them some love.

disclaimer: the photos shown below do not belong to me and I do not take credit for them. They are the properties of the awesome bloggers featured below! I hope you go follow them!

Minnie Muse

Minnie Muse Blog

Madison from Minnie Muse has an amazing blog about fashion, life, and all things beautiful! She recently got back from a trip to New York City and is sharing all her wonderful adventures on her site!

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Miss Hero Holliday

Miss Hero Holliday

Miss Hero Holliday has the most gorgeous collection of vintage dresses! Each week she shares her lovely outfits and I just adore every one.

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The Boyer Sisters

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The Boyer Sisters blog was the first vintage fashion blog I ever followed, and it was the main inspiration for me to start my own. Recently, they branched out with a second website and started following their own personal dreams. It’s always fun to scroll down and read their old posts full of so many inspirational outfits.

Boyer Sisters 2

Gracefully Vintage

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Kayla from Gracefully Vintage lives on the Central Coast of Australia and loves dressing from the 1920s to 1970s. She has so many cute posts up on her blog that you should read.

Gracefully Vintage 2

Brijee

Brijee 1

Brigid Everson, (formally one of the Boyer Sisters) has started her own blog where she shares her fashion and sewing adventures. I can’t wait for her next post as they’re always fun to read.

Brijee 2

Ruffles and Grace

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Victoria from Ruffles and Grace has a love for fashion, sewing and writing. She has her own seamstress business and even has a fiction book published. She loves writing and sharing her many passions on her blog, so go check it out.

Ruffles and Grace 2

A Clothes Horse

A Clothes Horse 2

Rebecca from A Clothes Horse is definitely one of the most inspiring vintage fashion bloggers I’ve ever found. The outfits she creates and the amazing photography to go with them make her blog such a splendid place to visit. Anyone who loves vintage fashion will love A Clothes Horse!

A Clothes Horse 1

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Have you already checked out some of these amazing blogs?

What are some of the vintage fashion blogs you follow?

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Megan Joy

Top Polyvore Styles // Winter 2018

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If you’ve ever tried Polyvore, it’s quite possible that you’ve spent hours upon hours creating the most fun and fashionable outfits and charming accessories to match. If you have never used Polyvore, I am here to tell you how useful it is for any fellow fashionistas, whether vintage loving or not. With Polyvore, you can search thousands of photos of dresses, shirts, pants, shoes, coats, bags, jewelry, and accessories, mix and match them, and create countless outfits full of fun possibilities. It’s free and you can download all your outfits to your Pinterest page quite easily. I’ve found it to be very inspirational when you somehow discover yourself in a fashioning lull. At the bottom of this post, you can find my Polyvore link, which will take you to a list of all the items featured in this post.

Now enough jibber-jabber; let’s get to some outfits!

One // Waiting for the Train

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Shop This Look

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Two // Highland Roses

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Shop This Look

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Three // Quick Call

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Shop This Look

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Four // London Librarian

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Shop This Look

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Five // Valentine’s Brunch

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Shop This Look

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Six // Look Who’s Here

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Shop This Look

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Seven // Winter Walk

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Shop This Look

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Eight // Snow DaysPolyvore Winter Styles - Snow Days - simplymeganjoy.wordpresscom

Shop This Look

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You can go check out Polyvore to create some amazing styles both vintage and modern.

You can find me on:

 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SimplyMeganJoy/

Polyvore: https://simplymeganjoyblog.polyvore.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simplymeganjoy/

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Have you ever tried Polyvore before?

What clothing pieces have you been styling for your “winter fashion?”

Follow me on the accounts listed above so I can follow you back!

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Megan Joy/

My Crimson Christmas // Ft. Lindy Bop

Quick disclaimer: This is not a paid sponsorship nor am I in affiliation with Lindy Bop.

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This wonderfully beautiful 1950s inspired dress called the “Marianne Red Swing Dress and Jacket Twin Set” came from Lindy Bop. It was the first time ordering from them and I can’t wait to order another dress in the future. I also bought my crinoline there which I’ve already wore this my last fashion post.

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The crimson color, the fullness of the skirt, the style of the jacket, and its perfect fit made this the best Christmas dress. I just love it! It also comes in dark blue, light blue, pink, burgundy, black, gray, and white, all of which I would love to have. Coming from London, it is of high quality and of wonderful craftsmanship. Unfortunately, the price matches the high quality, so I shall be content with this red one for a while. (P.S. I bought this particular dress on sale. Three cheers for Christmas sales!)

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If you love vintage fashion and classy clothes, you must head over to Lindy Bop. They have so many great finds, and coincidentally, they’re having a 60% off end of year sale, which includes the “Marianne Burgundy Swing Dress and Jacket Twin Set!” Go check it out and come back and tell me if you like it!

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The New Year will soon be upon us, so this will be the last fashion post of the year! Do you have any specific goals for 2018? Any fashion goals?

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dress and jacket // lindy bop

shoes // payless

crinoline // lindy bop

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Megan Joy

Retro With a Chance of Flurries

Snow flurries! What can be better than snow flurries? Hot chocolate and a book by a warm fire, actually! But before you sip your steamy cocoa topped with marshmallows, you have to get outside and frolic in the snow a bit. So that’s exactly what I did.

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I was very excited to finally wear the new crinoline I ordered from Lindy Bop. It works perfectly with this skirt that I made last year. They have so many color choices of crinoline, but I chose classic white. Lindy Bop has a great vintage collection. If you love dressing vintage, wish to start, or just want to try it out, Lindy Bop is a great place to shop. I do suggest collecting all the things you want in your shopping cart, and then waiting for a sale because it’s definitely on the pricey side.

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My sister did my hair and added the bows. The whole day I felt like Minnie Mouse!

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While you may see me smiling in these photos, what you are not seeing is: me shivering nearly to death, my feet frozen in the snow, my hands turning red and numb, and me yelling, “It doesn’t matter if it’s in focus! Just take the picture so we can go inside!

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To match all the colors of my outfit, I wore my “I Like Ike” pin. I once wore it to the voting polls and the people in front of me thought it was funny. Comment below if you know what my pin means!

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Besides liking Ike, I also like this little snowflake, resting on my sweater, all by itself. It reminds me of that well-known fact that no two snowflakes are alike. Out of all the times it snows, and all the millions of snowflakes that make up a storm, none seem to be the same. Yes, this little snowflake is different, it doesn’t match another, and maybe it’s a little small among the countless other flakes, but it’s still beautiful. Just like us.

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skirt // made by me

sweater // target

shoes // old navy

crinoline // lindy bop

hair bows // (white) icing, red (christmas ornament)

pin // (i can’t remember)

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How much snow did you get this week?

What do you think about snowflakes being different?

Do you know what my pin means?

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Megan Joy

Sunday Bests // A Little Shabby Chic

Sunday Bests // A Little Shabby Chic

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Today, I ventured into “shabby chic” fashion. I’m not personally a big fan of the modern shabby chic styles, but with a more vintage twist, I don’t think I mind it. There’s something about a floppy hat and a baggy skirt that just has a homey feel about it, creating a comfortable yet stylish outfit for exploring the countryside.

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Last week, I made this necklace from a quartz rock and some copper wire. I think it turned out pretty well for my second try (I don’t think you even want to see my first try). I asked my brother if he could make the stone into a heart shape. He whacked it with a hammer and it sort of ended up like a heart, maybe?

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I think autumn is the most photogenic season of them all. Just about anywhere you point your camera, you’re bound to capture the grand beauty of God’s nature through the lens.

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I’m loving this pair of sunglasses. The roundness is nicely balanced by the gold leaf design on the rims. When I wear them, it turns my world into a wild range of magical autumn hues, The photo below shows the difference. On the left half of the picture, is the view from the glasses and on the right what it looks like to the plain eye. It’s quite dramatic! Talk about rose tinted glasses.

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sweater // target

skirt // thrifted

hat // kohl’s

shoes // target (my sister’s)

necklace // made by me

sunglasses // rue 21

belt // thrifted

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Megan Joy

1940s Red Floral Frock

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I love how this dress is so World War II inspired. It feels as though it could be right out of an old 40s movie. It’s truly a gem in my vintage wardrobe.

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I found this brooch at a flea market one day and decided to pair it with this dress since the roses seemed to match it perfectly. It is a replacement of an original pin I have worn with this dress, since the old one is no longer with me. We, the old pin and I, parted sadly one stormy day while I was attending a car show. There were cars ranging from the 1910s to the 1980s, all of them Buicks, driven there from all over the country and Canada. It was a lovely day as I donned this red dress and my little rose pin, until a crack of thunder had us running into the nearest building to hide from the rain until it passed. The downpour stopped briefly as we ran to our car and headed home. It was then that I realized the absence of my little pin. We turned back, threw on ponchos, and searched the entire muddy show grounds; me in my bare feet not wanting to ruin my shoes. I watched as the paths were transformed into rivers, carrying leaves and things down the way and into the storm grates below. I, still to this day, wonder where my tiny rose pin ended up. It would be nice to think that someone has found my little treasure and is taking good care of it, better than I had.

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dress // thrifted

shoes // thrifted

purse // thrifted

brooch // thrifted

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Do you like 1940s fashion?

Have you ever lost a special piece of jewelry?

Do you ever imagine what could have become of it?

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Megan Joy