Recession Obsession

by Suzy Nightingale

It can be vampish goth in black, slutty in red, punky ripped, virginal in white. It may remind us of wedding veils, christening gowns, Victorian traditions of High Mourning, prostitutes, mistresses, and granny’s curtains. Depending on how it’s styled and the attitude it’s worn with, lace can be any of these things – sometimes several at once.

Oh, I adore White Owl’s jewellery – it’s so evocative of times past, yet never reeking of mothballs and musty bloomers, if you know what I mean? All of their pieces successfully marry the vintage and modern elements I so love. Made by two sisters, their work reflects their passion for vintage pieces in a modern setting.

“Many of our materials are rescued from estate sales, flea markets and even our own Grandmother! It is important to us to try to use repurposed materials as much as we can but we also love the mix of old and new.”

When times are tough and the pockets of the general public feel distressingly empty, when bankers only quaff three bottles of Champagne at lunch for fear of being hunted through the streets like vermin; we often see a romantic resurgence in fashion – a hungry yearning for vintage styles to remind us – or, perhaps more accurately, paint a rose-tinted picture – of gentler times.

Nothing in the world of fashion epitomises this longing for vintage quite so acutely as lace, which is quite simply everywhere, darlings, as you can hardly have failed to notice. With this in mind, I put together a hand-picked treasury of lacey goodness exclusively for Jack Move magazine, from handmade and vintage items available at Etsy. As you will see, I have edged toward the softer side of lace, as a balm for our souls in troubled times. I’m nice like that.

I really like this lace print leather iPhone case by tovicorrie – so many phone cases are pumped up with a ridiculous amount of testosterone or, conversely, so pink and girly you could very well be quite ill every time you received a phone call. This one is a very pleasing mix of old and new.

In the seemingly universally bleak period of the 1970’s, fashions frothed over with yards of lace worked into foamy echoes of Edwardian styles – think tousle-haired maidens running through corn fields wearing gauzy, Leg o’Mutton-sleeved Gunne Sax dresses, or sitting at dressing tables in whimsical gowns looking faintly troubled, but not enough to spoil their beauty.

This Gunne Sax dress from Little Veggie Vintage is a great example of that look – it’s just aching to be worn whilst twirling about in a meadow, filled to the brim with girlish glee. Or, y’know, vodka.

Now I do love a bit of lace, though must admit to being a fairly recent convert. Even way back when, in full-on I Am A Moody Goth mode, I shunned lace for fear of looking as though I wafted around in graveyards looking pained whilst reading poetry and drinking cherry brandy from the bottle. Which I did, but didn’t want to look as though I did, okay? Just leave me alone! [Flounces off, stage left. Returns, shame-faced].

I particularly like the pairing of a traditional style lacey item of clothing or accessory with something obviously modern or radical in styling: a demure lace camisole worn with a beaten-up pair of old jeans, a lace prom dress worn with biker boots or layered with a t-shirt. This juxtaposition works especially well when the element of lace is worked into a harder material, like this exquisite ring by vdeux.

Interestingly, Veronica, the designer, says she is directly influenced by her love of vintage materials – the dreamy antique styles begetting an edgy newness:

“My (metal) work is rather organic, very much influenced by textures and colours. I guess my love for fabric and needlework transcends all mediums.”

Mixing a pretty little slip of something made from lace with a dressed-down roughness is definitely the easiest way to wear this current trend – and perfect for those people nervous about looking more Halloween costume than understated chic. It’s all about the layering of frilly innocence with a nonchalant nod to the past rather than a full-on embrace with tongues.

This peachy lace tunic by Lirola is great for layering with something dressed-down or edgy – teamed with leather leggings and killer heels this would be drop dead amazing. Or, if you don’t have the legs or bravery necessary (which I certainly do not), try it with a longer black dress underneath and thick black tights.

When feeling gloomy or bemoaning your bank balance, I do hope this little jaunt into the world of lace will encourage you to make like the past and drape yourself in elegance. As for running through corn fields and twirling about in meadows – perhaps save that for summer and layer the lace with thermals, darlings. Authentic Victorian styles are all very well, but coughing up blood into lace handkerchiefs is taking the theme a little too far.

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Miss Nightingale is an avid perfume maker,  forced completely against her will to work for a living (disgusting, but one has to scrape together the pennies). She is affianced to a wonderful man, with whom she resides in the county of Kent, in the UK. She distinctly recalls her mother asking what she wanted to be when she was older. The response — “A pickpocket!” — was met with something less than enthusiasm. For more delicious Victorian, Edwardian, Steampunkian delights, visit her blog here.

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