Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vintage For Beginners: One Dress Three Ways!

So... I got a haircut.
Hey guys and gals! It's been a long, long time since I last posted, and I realize I have some 'splainin to do.  Things have changed a ton in the last six months: I live in a new city, I have a new job, and for the first time in a long while, I'm feeling really good about where I'm headed.

So, to 'splain.  There are a number of reasons I took a hiatus from blogging, which I'll get into more deeply over the next couple posts, but long story short, I took a break because blogging had become something I wasn't looking forward to, and that, in fact, I sort of dreaded.

Why? Well, one major reason is that when I started Little Heap, my original idea had been that I'd be sharing with you all real outfits I was really wearing.  The thought was to show how vintage can be truly wearable, which was, I suppose, something I was proving to myself as much as to anyone else.  That's all well and good, but the trouble started this summer when I was no longer able to wear vintage on a daily basis.  I adapted my blogging concept to show you guys clothing I was finding through my job in wardrobe (the "Decades" project), but since that was a short-term job by design, I was soon faced with a problem.  Not only was I having to work at a job that made wearing delicate/older pieces impossible (hey there retail gig), I also didn't have any alternatives to show you all.  Since I wasn't actually wearing vintage anymore, it felt inauthentic to dress up in it, photograph it, and then change back into black, modern, work-appropriate clothing. Inauthentic and sad, actually.  So instead, I stopped altogether.

I would love to have been one of those types of people who can keep her chin up and persevere until good times roll back around, but I didn't want to put up uninspired posts, or feel jealous by peeking into the lives of people who were able to keep on chuggin' along.  So this, combined with some other factors I'll get into later, is why I pretty much dropped off the face of the blogging planet.

But! The past couple months have pretty much turned things rightside-up again: since March, Kate and I moved to Philly (well, very close to Philly anyway), we've both landed new jobs, we've signed on a new apartment (it has a clawfoot tub!), and by and large, things are lining up for old Liz Lemon.

So with new energy floating around thanks to all the change in the air, I'm hoping to get Little Heap back up and running. First up, a post idea that had been rattling around in my head for a while-- a sort of "Vintage For Beginners" post, taking a vintage dress and styling it three very different, totally wearable ways.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

5 Tips to Survive the Job Hunt

You need a new job.  Your current job is going nowhere, is about to end, or has already ended.  These situations have different degrees of panic-inducing immediacy, but each points to one course of action: the dreaded job hunt.

Relax! I've got you covered.

Everyone knows looking for work sucks.  It can be isolating, frustrating, depressing, and it tests your sense of self-worth.  So to help you survive it, here's a list of five invaluable things I didn't know I needed until I jumped into the fray myself.  And let me tell you, these things are getting me through it on the daily.

1. A Workout Plan.

Source: Redditor kirbyfood
This isn't about losing weight, or looking good in your interview outfit (more on that later).  Looking for a job is a waiting game.  You send out your cover letter and resume, and you wait.  It's hard to feel like you're making headway, and nearly impossible to see any progress.  What you need is tangible proof that you're doing something worthwhile, and that you're in the driver's seat of your own life.  For that, there's nothing better than exercise.  

Yoga, running, zumba, power walking, cartwheels through a field of flowers, whatever--working out gives structure to your day, and the much-needed ability to immediately feel, and eventually see, that you are in fact making progress and taking proactive steps towards change.  Plus, the endorphin rush is super, extremely helpful in keeping you out of the dark pit of existential despair you feel when you realize you're just a girl, standing in front of an HR office, asking it to love you.

2. Relentlessly Upbeat Music

Source: Pinterest user Gladys Neufeld
This goes hand in hand with working out.  Some days, you're going to wake up thinking, "Yeah! Let's DO this! I'm worthwhile, I've got boatfuls of talent, and any company would be lucky to have me!"  But I can guarantee you, that won't be every day.  When enthusiasm and positivity prove hard to conjure on your own, there's nothing like Queen Bey's "Love On Top" to get you there.  Seriously, this sounds frothy, but feeling good about yourself is absolutely key to making others feel good about you. So turn the beat up, "Shake It Off," and get to work.

3. A Wardrobe Plan

Pajamas are comfortable.  It's their job.  But your job is to look for a job, and you can't take it seriously if you're wearing loungewear.  It feels good at first, but eventually, part of your desire for a job will be to just have a reason to put on pants.  So give yourself that reason.  As a vintage gal, maybe you feel like your best, most put-together and employable self with your hair set and heels on. If so, do that.  Personally, that makes me feel like I've been stood up for the prom.  If you're like me, find a happy medium.  Just get out of your PJs, because if you go from sun up to sun down without a wardrobe change, you'll feel like nothing else is changing, either.

4. An Outfit That Looks Good On Camera

Source: Pinterest user Mariana E. Paula Moreno
These days, video interviews are common.  Part of me is happy about this--phone interviews suck for everyone, all the time--but on-camera interviews come with their own challenges.  Lighting and camera placement can make you look like Sophia Loren or a gremlin, so set yourself up for success by making sure you know where you could Skype like the knockout you are.  Also key? A tried-and-true outfit that flatters you in the harsh blue light of a computer.  Rule of thumb is to stay away from white and busy patterns, but test it out to see if you're the exception.  

Now, something you may want to think about as a vintage-wearing lady is how vintage to go.  You want to be memorable, but I've always had the sneaking suspicion that full-on vintage apparel, without the context of my hard work and skill set, can cause people to take me less seriously.  For this reason, I take it easy in the interview, and once I'm at the office and knocking socks off, I gradually transition into what I love wearing.  Should you have to do this?  Well, no-- people should judge you by your credentials, your talents, skills, etc.  But unfortunately, the real world isn't perfect, and depending on how badly you need a job, this may not be a hill worth dying on.  

5. Box Wine

I'm serious here.  Looking for a job is full-time work.  It's hard, and it's frustrating, and at the end of the day, you deserve a break.  My reward of choice is box wine, because a) it's inexpensive enough that I can buy it without feeling guilty (it's the equivalent of four bottles of wine, and at $20 a pop, that math looks mighty good to me), and b) there's no empty bottle shame.  You know what I'm talking about.

Not into wine?  Rent a movie from RedBox or your local library, read a book you're slightly ashamed about (YA novels are wildly popular for a reason, guys), have a piece of candy-- just make sure that once in a while, you congratulate yourself for sticking it out.

The job hunt sucks.  It just does-- it sucks.  But you know what?  You're awesome, because you're doing it. If you can keep on truckin', it's going to pay off-- just stay in it, stay positive, and maybe give these tips a try.

Do you have any go-to tricks for surviving the job hunt? Share 'em in the comments below!

Note: I don't own these images; if you own them and would like me to remove them, just leave a comment!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sisterhood of the Traveling Vintage Dress

A few months ago, Joanna at Dividing Vintage Moments proposed a really fun, wonderful idea: what if a bunch of bloggers tried out and styled the same dress? A Sisterhood of the Traveling Vintage Dress, if you will.  I immediately signed on for the adventure, and was very happy to be second up, after Kristen of Verity Vintage.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Oh, Those Summer Nights!

Summer's nearly over (boo!), and though I'm not ready to give the season up yet, I will admit I'm ready to slow things down and refocus.  As you might've seen from my fewer-and-farther-between posts, the last couple months have been bananas.  Thankfully, the last couple weeks, Kate and I were able to get away and spend some time at the beach.  It's been relaxing, and has given us time to breathe and regroup.  For me, it's finally time for me to move in a new, non-theatrical direction-- I've been hanging on too long, as my idol Duffy croons, and moving into autumn, I'm actually getting excited about trying to find something new.  But before we slide on out of summer, I wanted to share a shoot I did a while back: Grease!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Decades: Finds from the Mid- to Late 1940s

The mid- to late-1940s saw the end of World War II and the beginning of a new world.  For the United States, at least, the late 1940s created a boom in prosperity and, in the fashion world, a sigh of relief as it wriggled its way out of wartime austerity measures.  Skirts got longer, lines got softer, and Dior used fabric as though it was water.  As part of the "New Look," he transformed the shirtdress from wartime utilitarianism to relaxed domesticity, and the trend took hold and didn't let go throughout the 1950s.  The dresses I found for this foray into the mid- to late-'40s (again, as best I can tell!) span the war through the post-war transformation.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Decades: Finds from the Pre-War 1940s

Everyone loves the 1940s, but not everyone agrees on which half. There's the 1940s before World War II, and there's the 1940s after, and as the astounding trauma of the wars changed the world, fashion changed along with it.

Pre-WWII fashion made its way out of the figure-hugging 1930s with stronger shoulders and slim A-line skirts. The war required even stronger shoulders to bear its weight, so utilitarian suits with shorter, fabric-preserving skirts became de rigeur.  But once the war was over, and austerity measures a thing of the past, Christian Dior reinvigorated fashion with his ├╝ber-feminine, fabric-rich New Look of 1947.

The pieces I got to pull for this post span the huge spectrum of the 1940s, one of the most varied decades in fashion history.  Given my love for the 1930s, I really do prefer the early 1940s, but I'm happy to say I found some great dresses from the second half of the decade I'll be showing you next week.  So, how about we jump into the first half of the fab Forties?

Click "read more" to jump on in!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Decades: Finds from the 1930s

Hey there!  I'm just about bursting with excitement to show you the beautiful 1930s dresses I've gathered together for this post.  This decade is one of my absolute favorites in fashion: long, slim lines combined with dramatic details?  Yes, please.  Beginning with longer, more feminine silhouettes after the androgynous 1920s, the 1930s remains, in my opinion, one of the most flattering and elegant periods in fashion history.  It introduced simple, smart outfits to reflect the somber tone of the Great Depression, and yet encompasses the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Vionnet's groundbreaking use of the bias cut, and runs the design gamut from easy-to-wear dresses to outlandish gowns.

So without further ado, the seven (count 'em, seven!) flowing, beaded, print-ed, and/or clinging pieces I've chosen to reflect the variety of the 1930s.

(Follow the "read more" break below!)