International Women’s Day 2017

International Women’s Day 2017 is here! First celebrated in 1909 the day has taken on several incarnations over the years, today advocating the need for greater gender equality and inclusivity. Every year has a theme, this year’s being #beboldforchange.

Here at The Vintage Notebook I like to use the day to spotlight an organisation or business which improves women’s lives in some way. A few examples of previous years can be found here and here. This year I was inspired by a photograph from the now famous series ‘Country Doctor’ by Eugene Smith, first published in Life magazine in 1948. It focused on the work of Dr Ceriani, a rural practitioner from Colorado, whose patients numbered 2000 and who single-handedly served an area of 400 square-miles.

Smith’s photographs are full of humanity. Dr. Ceriani’s hound dog expressions of concern are compelling in the extreme, as are the myriad emotional states of his patients. I would urge you to take a few moments out to look through the archive. Towards the end of the series are several photographs which failed to make the cut to publication. The picture below is one and remains my favourite.

00767760.JPG

The caption merely reads ‘Dr Ceriani with a patient’. I know nothing of this woman beyond what is evident superficially; she appears to be in her seventies or even eighties. She is thin and her hands look like they have worked hard for many years. She seems to be telling the doctor her ailment, perhaps a back or chest pain judging by her gesture. Her face is full of character, with a beaky nose, drawn cheeks and slightly overhanging jaw, perhaps symptomatic of a few missing teeth. She has the physicality of a woman who has lived a hard and long life on the inclement, treeless flats of Kremmling Colorado. In addition to this however she is wearing a smart black dress with white lace colour. A jaunty and pristine little topper hat with bunches of berries on the front, sits atop white hair, neatly brushed and pinned up. I find the fact that this woman travelled many miles in her little fancy hat to see the doctor heartbreakingly sweet. She doesn’t strike me as the sort of woman to bother an incredibly overworked general practitioner unless there was something genuinely wrong with her and I hope that as she made her way home on her little sinewy legs, perhaps holding her hat against the wind, she had received some relief from Dr Ceriani.

I am always intrigued and drawn to the unknown realities of the women forgotten to history. This woman, who at a rough estimate would have been born in 1878, lived through a fascinating period of American history, not to mention two World Wars. Her thoughts, her experiences, heck, even her illness is unknown to us. She is merely known to the historical record as ‘a patient’.

This year, in part to celebrate the work of Dr Ceriani and the life of his unknown patient, and partly because this year it feels like they need our help more than ever, I’m donating to Planned Parenthood. I feel beyond fortunate to live in a county with a National Health Service, which has helped my sisters to have babies and me not to. These are our choices. They are valid. They should be supported, protected and defended. Because like Dr Ceriani, walking many miles a day to his patients, there should be ‘Care, no matter what’.

Sig

Save

Save

Save

Save

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

La La Wardrobe

LLL d 41-42_6689.NEF

Because my finger is so firmly on the pulse of popular culture that I am at risk of stopping blood flow to its brain, I went to see La La Land a mere six weeks after its UK release the other night. I enjoyed it very much. Of course I did. In the same way that I enjoy tea and biscuits, there is little not to enjoy about lovely Ryan Gosling and lovely Emma Stone hotfooting it around a perpetually sunny LA to the strains of MGM musical inspired show tunes.

Beyond the singing and Gosling’s preternatural charm however, my main take away from the film was yet more inspiration for Spring and Summer dressing. I know, I know. I harp on about this a lot. But to me dressing for warm weather is akin to a four month GCSE exam. I find it daunting, difficult and frustrating. Due to this I tend to plan far in advance in the hope that on that first warm day in May when I open my curtains to see actual blue sky, I don’t collapse into a frantic melting mess while desperately grabbing for some aged black leggings and a billowing tunic top. Last summer I leant very heavily on my black palazzo trousers worn with an array of black shirts tied at the waist. It worked well, and I was only mistaken for a waitress on a handful of occasions. This year however, with help from lovely Emma Stone I feel that I may be able to branch out in two distinct directions. 1. Cotton. 2. Block colour. I don’t generally like that stiff cotton material that all dresses and skirts seem to be made out of in summer. They seem a bit Charlotte from SATC for my taste and all together far too preppy and Tommy Hilfiger-esque. However, I think that a few key cotton items, such as a Breton top or off the shoulder Bardot inspired dress might be OK, as long as I keep 30ft from a Coach bag at all times and don’t brush my hair.

The other bold new horizon I intend to cross this summer is a bit more colour. Not pastels, obviously, but some nice dependable primary colours and maybe a bit of white too. I know, ground breaking. Done right and teamed with black cigarette pants I think that I will cope guys. I know that you are here for me during this difficult time.

Right, so let’s get down to brass tacks (or should I say brass tax-rebate, amIrightguys? *nudging elbow to ribs*. I’m here all week). Things that I plan to buy between now and when it gets really really hot so that I don’t look like a melty Goth snowwoman:

A Breton Top
I’m bloody certain I have had about twenty of these in my lifetime but God only knows where they have got to. Perhaps they left en masse in the night for a life on the open waves, armed with only small parcels of jam sandwiches. Who could really blame the little marinieres for returning to their natural environment? Anyway, I’m getting another one because they are chic and cool and sexy and awesome. They work well with circle skirts or cigarette pants and basically make you look like Jane Birkin popping out to pick up fags and fresh baguettes of a weekend when you are really going to buy cat food and an extension cord with your Clubcard points.

2465563_PRIPetit Bataeu £29

Converse Trainers
I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to decide that I need a pair of these in my life but now that I have I can’t shake it. I think that they will look nice with a sun dress and in a cheery colour like these, seem to be something that  Sharon Horgan from Catastrophe would approve of and I’m all bloody over that. I’m worried that they may look a bit ‘cool Hampstead Mum-y’, which seeing as how I am not cool, a mother or living in Hampstead does worry me slightly. But we’ll see how it goes.

White Shirt
Apparently it is an extraordinary that I don’t own a white shirt, so I suppose that I should get one. I like these from Uniqlo, which I already have in black (of course) because they are petite in fit and don’t drown my smallish shoulders. They are also quite floppy, avoiding the aforementioned preppy-stiff-cotton-shirt-thing that tall women who wear riding boots down Bond Street, miles from the nearest stable, can pull off so well.

A Button-up Skirt
I had one of these two years ago and stupidly got rid of it in a mad minimalist clear out moment. But it was a bit knackered I suppose. Anywho, I like this one and think it will look great with everything listed above.

Off-the-shoulder Top
This whole baring your upper arms trend doesn’t seem to be budging as much as we may wish that it would. But at least we have moved on from cold shouldered everything (seriously, I just don’t get it) to an out and out ‘look at my sexy clavicle!’ motif.  Which I’m actually quite happy about because I rather like my clavicle. Something like this should do the trick.

Sun Dress
So I may have about twelve-ty million dresses in my possession, but I don’t think I have anything that works as a proper sun dress. I’m talking utter tosh. Of course I do. These are just the things I tell myself to justify buying new dresses. Look, OK, right here it is…it’s summer, and I want a new pretty dress to wear with ballet pumps and my leather jacket on the weekend so that I can skip off to meet my friends for brunch and then get tipsy on cider with a boy in a beer garden. LET ME HAVE THIS! I would like something like this.

4130460385371_010_bAnthropologie £129

Embroidered Flats
Embroidery is still here for a while it seems, which is A OK with me because I bloody love the stuff. I would embroider my walls if I could, and carpet, and cat. I didn’t get any embroidered flats last year because I forgot to, but this time around they will be mine and will look nice with a black dress on a warm night or a pair of jeans. But let’s not go there. I don’t have the mental energy to dissect the intricacies of jeans ownership in this day and age. I have been jean-less for about four years now and I’m not sure I would know how to start again. Where do you go? Do people still buy jeans from Topshop? Have all jeans been replaced by wide leg shin-length culottes that look awful on absolutely everybody but nobody wants to be the first to say so? Christ, all of this is exhausting. I hope this helped. I’m going back to my books.

Sig

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

The Betty Rubble Blue Blouse

I have found myself doing two very uncharacteristic, dare I say it, odd things in the last week. Number one – craving summer in a fairly major way. Any long time readers of this here blog will appreciate how utterly unlike me this is. I enjoy all things involving woolly socks, dark evenings and stew. I definitely do not enjoy my mascara dripping from my face by midday or the potential horror of having to lob an errant Frisbee back to a group of park dwellers as I scuttle between Starbucks and a nice cool museum. But! For some reason, perhaps because I had such a cracking summer last year and thoroughly intend to again, I am mega in the mood for afterhours drinks in beer gardens and long lazy weekends in the city.

The second weird thing I have found myself doing this week is lusting after and then actually purchasing an item of clothing I saw someone wearing on Instagram. The person in question was the very talented and always chic Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo fame, so I guess it’s not that surprising. Sam always looks like she is decked out head to toe in YSL so when I discovered that this blouse was Topshop I was all over it like a stylish if slightly creepy rash.

TS13Z02LCFR_Zoom_F_1

I love this shade of blue. I suppose it is cornflower technically but I always refer to it as Betty Rubble blue, and as demonstrated by the diminutive Stone Age sass pot, it’s a colour that looks great with dark brunette or black hair. So off I trotted, armed with a trusty gift card from Christmas (thanks Fiona) and after a few dead ends, picked up the item in question in Westfield. I wore it today with these Collectif trousers (which are now on facking sale! Typical) and felt like Faye Dunaway in Network, so mission accomplished really.
I heartily recommend you all go and buy one of these because A. it will work well as a ‘hey it’s spring, I better break up all of these winter florals and black jumpers with something perky just to show willing’ in the coming weeks. And B, a woman came up to me in Paperchase today and said that I looked nice, so there you go. Cancel Fashion Week! The voice of the people has spoken and she had excellent lipstick on.

If you do act on my faultless logic and purchase this, a word to the wise; there is a deceptively large amount of fabric knocking about in this number, so go for a smaller size than you anticipate. I got a size 6, which in Topshop-world is like a 2 or something because everything is very oddly sized in that place. I have no idea who decides the dimensions of Topshop clothes but I can only assume it is a little elf who is kept in a workshop/cave and has only ever seen one woman in their entire life to use as reference and she had breasts the size of Lola Ferraris and legs like Sponge Bob. I tried on this very nice dress at the same time as the Betty Rubble blouse and I honestly could have stashed a baby kangaroo down the front.

 

Sig

Save

Save

Save

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share