Onwards into the New Year – 2016 is nearly here!

 Frocks, Harebell, Ready To Wear, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Onwards into the New Year – 2016 is nearly here!
Dec 272015
 

It’s been quite a year, to say the least.  Weddings, bridesmaids, ladies who “don’t wear dresses” wanting dresses for weddings and discovering that, actually, they look amazing and that dresses are – and should be – fun.

Times move on and the new studio at St Mellion is almost finished, working is already happening there and the first frocks in the new children’s line, Harebell, have been made.  The very first one, “Gracie” sold within hours of being shown online and it’s a most appropriate home, too.

Three retro dresses on bustforms.

“Gracie” in tulip print.

And here it is, proudly modelled by the muse who inspired its creation!

Meet Grace!

Meet Grace!

Grace first came into the Looe shop, The March Hare, when she was a tiny tot in a pushchair.  She didn’t speak, just looked around with huge eyes, taking in everything as her mother, Krystal, had a lovely time looking in beautiful in a variety of frocks.  Over the years, Grace has grown up (and up and up!) into a beautiful, self-assured young lady, who knows exactly what she wants and likes and somehow, with her love of vintage and retro styles and classic dresses, she’s always the inspiration behind the Harebell line.  It was obvious that the first frock should be named after her, because it was the basic design that was created for her two years ago.  The frock has various options (sleeves, necklines, sash/waist ties, skirt length and fabrics) but it’s the same frock and looks wonderful.

Small girl in cream frock with apple print

Grace modelling her “appley dappley” Gracie frock, with sweetheart neckline and no sleeves.

Grace spotted the Wednesday March Ready To Wear line in Lovely Lane, Looe, back in the summer – nothing gets past this young lady! – and was adamant that she wanted something in the apple print.  Despite my slight misgivings as to the size of the print on a small person, Grace proved once again that she has a great eye for design as it works wonderfully.  A round necked, short sleeved version of the dress is almost finished in a black background version of this apple print.  Don’t tell Grace, though, as it isn’t her size…

No doubt Grace will continue to inspire the Harebell line as she grows up.  Apparently, this week she has been glued to the movie “White Christmas” (Miss Wednesday’s favourite!) and has a long list of designs she needs to discuss!

It’s wonderful when customers become friends.  Krystal owns the actual frock pictured on the WM business cards and profile pictures.  Hopefully both mother and daughter will be inspiring things for years to come.

Happy New Year 2016!  Here’s to new premises, new frocks, new friends and even more fun.  Stick around, we have a party to plan!

May 102015
 

Regular readers will know how strongly Miss Wednesday feels on ethical matters, such as food and garments production, living wages, decent living and working conditions, etc.  She can blather on about such things until the chickens give up asking for corn and fall asleep with sheer boredom.  Just recently, we’ve had Fashion Revolution Day, marking two years since the ghastly factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed 1133 workers (24th April 2013) and calling on people to think about and instrument a change in global fashion supply chains.

Even more recently, we in Britain had a General Election.  (Oh gawd, not more political bollocks…)  Well, no.  No political bollocks here, not really.  Because, frankly, it’s done and dusted.  For whatever reasons, the people of Britain made their choices and elected a government.  Job done.  And now we have to sit back and let that government get on with creating the country we want.  Don’t we?

Er, no.  No, we don’t.  We all have the power to influence our society.  Every single one of us.  With every single pound we spend.  And with pretty much every action we take.

Life for some is good.  Life for some is harder.  Life for others is unbelievably difficult and accessing help can be an uphill struggle, not always achievable.  We hear so much about “benefit bunnies”, layabouts, shirkers, etc.  But nobody wants to have to go to a food bank in order to be able to put food on the table for their family.  Nobody.  But in an economic climate such as this, where jobs are hard to come by and living wages a mere dream, they are becoming increasingly important.

So, spare a thought for the people who have no choice but to use them.  When you’re shopping, maybe stick a couple of things in your basket that you can pop into the food bank’s collection basket in your local bank, church or community centre.  You will be making a bigger difference than the pound or less it costs you to do this.

And when you do that shopping, how do you feel doing it locally?  Proper locally?  When you spend money in local shops (not branches of national chains), you’re supporting local people.  Not just the proprietors of those shops but the wider community.

For example, the beautiful Lovely Lane emporiums in Polperro and Looe – more news on this in a minute – stock my Ready To Wear range.  So you can actually try and buy Wednesday March clothing in a shop again.  How lovely!  Now, should you choose to purchase some of that clothing (or any of the other locally-produced goods in the shop), who do you think benefits?  Well, Sharon, the proprietor of those shops, me, the other producers, obviously.  But Sharon employs local people in her shops, because although she’s an amazing businesswoman, she can’t be in more than one place at once, so needs people to help her.  People she pays to man the shops for her when she’s off sourcing stock and doing the hundred and more things you have to do when you have a shop. Employment!  Yes, she’s creating employment, giving local people money and opportunities and keeping them out of the Jobcentre and Foodbanks.  And both Sharon and her employees spend money locally, in other local shops and businesses, creating more opportunities for expansion, employment and wealth locally.  I spend my money as locally as possible, doing the same as I’m sure do the other suppliers.  And when our money stays local – or at least in this country – it goes further.  We make our economy work for us, rather than bolstering up multinational firms who, frankly, don’t give a monkeys about any of us as long as they and their shareholders get big, fat payoffs.   Surely that’s an easy way to make a difference?

And, because this is supposed to be a blog about frocks, here’s a picture of one.

 

Sundress in blue and white seashell print fabric

‘Anna’ tie shoulder sundress

The original Lovely Lane store is moving from West Looe to Higher Market Street in East Looe and will be opening on Saturday 16th May 2015!  Exciting or what?  And yes, the tie-shoulder sundress pictured above is one of the garments that will be available for purchase there.  Form an orderly queue, please.

A Small, Scarlet Miracle

 Cosmetics, Style  Comments Off on A Small, Scarlet Miracle
Feb 222015
 

A couple of weeks ago, Miss Wednesday was finally forced to venture into the Looe branch of Boots the Chemist.  She took Miss Sara as backup and they carefully checked whether The Assistant From The Depths of Hell was behind the till.  She wasn’t, so they confidently approached the cosmetics aisle.  It’s only a tiny branch of Boots and doesn’t have a wide selection of anything, but there is a small stand of Bourjois cosmetics, which is an old brand that combines history, excellent quality and very reasonable prices and Miss Wednesday likes it.

There was a dilemma.  As per usual, Boots had a 3 for 2 offer on and Miss Wednesday required 3 items, 2 eyeshadows and a concealer.  The problem was that the range of little round pots of eyeshadow appeared to have been greatly reduced and neither of the requisite colours were there.  They did, however, have the Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow Palette, which had 2 of the right colours and another 2 more exciting ones to boot, so that was a result.  Except that took the total of products to 2.  So what was Miss Wednesday to pick for her freebie?

She narrowed down the selection to a choice of 2 lipsticks.  One bright red and one very nude.  Did Miss Wednesday really need another red lipstick, bearing in mind that she’s very, very picky about red lipstick and usually gives them away after one wearing, even when they come from Chanel?  But could she pull off the nude lipstick look?  If you’ve ever witnessed her behaviour when (the very lovely) Claudia Winkleman appears on the television – “Claudia, darling, you’ve forgotten your lipstick again!” – then you’d probably say no.  So she put the red lipstick in the basket, dealt with the (thankfully) very nice lady behind the till, and added the lipstick to her cosmetics stash when she got home.

Weirdly for Miss Wednesday, the lipstick sat in the box for a couple of weeks.  Normally she can’t wait to try anything new but this winter she’s been devoted to her Dior Rouge Nude Illusion 779, and just couldn’t bring herself to forsake it.  But at last she did.

The new one is a Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in colour number 13, Jet Set.  It’s red.  Very red.  Doesn’t appear overly blue- or orange-based, but the very pale Miss Wednesday can wear either and it is actually a very nice red.  The packaging is mainly black plastic and doesn’t look particularly swish and the product smells like, well, lipstick.  Nothing out of the ordinary so far.  It’s not going to beat Besame there.  Goes on smoothly, nice texture, good colour and coverage over a base of a red Max Factor lip pencil and face powder.  So far, so good.

Red lipstick

Bourjois Rouge Edition Number 13, Jet Set.

 

The lippy went on at about 10.30am.  Miss Wednesday’s day involved a rampage over the moor with the Alfhound, the making of a couple of frocks, several cups of coffee, some nuts from her Graze box and one perfunctory re-application before leaving work.  At nearly 9pm, after a cup of tea and dinner, she glanced in a mirror and was stunned to find that the colour was almost all still there.  But there was something else, something even more amazing.

It was all still on her lips.  This one, ladies and gentlemen, is not a bleeder.  Not even a fine feathering.  And that, on a 46 year old is little short of miraculous.  Or witchcraft.  Either way, she won’t be parting with this lipstick in a hurry and suggests that if you’re keen on a red lippy but struggle with the bleeding issue, you might want to give this one a try.

Miss Wednesday is not connected with Boots or Bourjois in any way, shape or form.  But she does love good make-up.  And a bargain.

Feb 152015
 

One of the reasons for closing The March Hare was, weirdly, the popularity of the Wednesday March frocks above all other things in the shop.  With the travelling and the work involved in actually running the shop, there just wasn’t enough time to make sufficient garments to keep up with demand and have a proper range of sizes and styles in stock.  Closing the shop, renting a workshop and concentrating on the made to measure side of the business seemed to be the way forward.  And it was.  It definitely was.  No question about that.

But it did close the main window on the world and plenty of people, both local and visiting, were very sad about the decision.  There has been a lot of feedback on this.  It’s a difficult one, because many of the people who mourned the disappearance of The March Hare had never actually bought anything in there; whilst they loved the style of the shop and clothing, it has to be said that not everybody had the budget or time for a made to measure, especially given the length of the waiting list.  So, realistically, the shop had to go.

When I closed it, the plan was to do some outside events, retro fairs, etc and maybe the odd pop-up shop, but swapping the huge 4×4 for a 2-seater sports job made the logistics of moving rails, mannequins and stock problematical and Miss Wednesday is still unconvinced that giving up her beloved Snippy (the hairdresser’s car) will end in anything other than driving misery.  So she’s bimbled along, making the made to measure and having a lovely time, but not getting out much and missing having that window on the world, which was good, albeit expensive, advertising.

On Tuesday 10th February, at 11.41 am,  a short Facebook message pinged in from a friend with a shop in Looe.  “Have you got a number I can call you on please?!!!”

This was either sent to the wrong person or a cry for help.  Number duly provided and Sharon called to explain.  She was opening another branch of Lovely Lane Interiors in Polperro on Saturday 14th and had already advertised that there would be some vintage clothing but that the person providing that part of the offering had been unable to go through with it and she wondered if there was anything left from The March Hare that could be put into her new shop to fill the gap.

Er, no.  Not really.  It is all made to measure now and any samples tend to get snapped up quite quickly.

One hour later, however, Miss Wednesday was in the workshop and Wednesday March Ready to Wear was under way!  It is not a huge range at the moment, given the timescale (3 days!) but there are plans for it.  The first pieces were delivered to Sharon at the new shop on Friday afternoon and will be added to as quickly as possible, whilst still providing the normal made to measure service.  The full range should be in place by Easter.  No pressure…!

Retro style frock with novelty print on white background

A bad picture of the first WM Ready to Wear design! Meet “Chessie”. Round neck, scoop back, gathered skirt. Ta dah!

Chessie is the first ready to wear design.  She’s simple, classic and classy.  The garments in the range will be offered in standard sizes (S, M, L, XL) and limited to one in each style/fabric/size to start with to maintain some exclusivity, certainly until we can gauge the demand.  But who knows where this may lead?

Chessie is priced at £85, which is considerably less than the made to measure garments and is currently available in a beautiful print of Edwardian ladies.  The fabric is designed and printed in England and the frocks are made in Darkest Cornwall – how’s that for Buy British?!  Grab one while you can.

Wednesday March Ready to Wear is currently only available from Lovely Lane Interiors, Polperro, Cornwall.  Drive to Polperro, park up in the carpark (do NOT be tempted to drive right down as it is very narrow and access is restricted to essential vehicles only) and wander on down the quaint main street.  Lovely Lane can be found on the right hand side, past The Kitchen restaurant and next door to the ice cream kiosk.  The sign is more easily spotted on the way back than the way down so keep your eyes peeled.  Inside you’ll find all manner of glorious furnishings and goodies to tempt you, along with some rather nice frocks and petticoats and a vintage tea room offering Cornish Tea and Coffee.

Interior shot of shabby chic interiors store

The Lord Mayor of Polperro, having opened the new Lovely Lane Interiors store there. WM Ready To Wear just behind him to the left! Photo stolen from Holiday Cottages Polperro

Meanwhile, Miss Wednesday is slaving away on the next design.  Watch this space…

The Petticoat Club

 Favourite Places, Frocks, Out And About, Wednesday March  Comments Off on The Petticoat Club
Oct 052014
 

You may have heard tell of that shady organisation known as “The Petticoat Club”.  It sounds all sweetness and light, doesn’t it?  But the very name strikes fear into the heart of various restaurateurs in the quiet seaside town of Looe.  When The Petticoat Club meet, mayhem ensues…

It all started back in that hotbed of fundamentalism and radicalisation, The March Hare, late lamented retro boutique in East Looe, Cornwall.  Miss Wednesday – who is not known for being a “people person” – actually developed friendships with some of her customers, who were not put off by her bluntness or fondness for gin.  In fact, several of those customers also shared those attributes. One particular one, known as “Miss Jane”, would spend so much time in the shop on her bi-annual holidays to Looe, that most of the locals assumed that she was (a) also local and (b) a staff member.  Eventually, she and Miss Wednesday went out one evening in October 2013 for a spot of dinner and gossip at Miss Wednesday’s favourite restaurant, Papa Nino’s, in East Looe, which they justified by calling it the Staff Christmas Party.  It was a roaring success so they promptly booked a rematch for the following March.  Complete with crackers.

At this point, Miss Wednesday threw a bit of a curve ball.  Although none of this particular group of customers would describe themselves as “joiners”, she invited three of them to join her and Miss Jane.  It was a bit of a gamble.  Miss Jane was, she now admits, slightly peeved at the presumptuous inviting of “plus three” and more than a little worried at the prospect of meeting “other people who probably all knew each other”.  On further examination, it turned out that the other three people felt exactly the same trepidation as none of them knew each other either.  In fact, they each only knew one person in the group and that was Miss Wednesday, which isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation or a recipe for an evening of jollity.

Against all odds, it was a spectacular success.  They all “clicked” immediately and their friendships were soon cemented by that modern day ritual of  becoming “friends on Facebook”.

Ladies in retro frocks drinking cocktails

Assorted members of the Petticoat Club enjoying pre-dinner cocktails at Zute in East Looe. Photo stolen from Miss Tanya.

Why does this merit a blog post?  Because apart from the fact it shows that petticoat wearers are lovely people and don’t deserve being glared at in supermarkets, it is also proof that it is possible to make friends in adulthood.  Only two days ago, at her tailoring class, Miss Wednesday was chatting with a classmate who mentioned how difficult it is to meet people and make friends when you’re an adult and if you don’t have small children and school gates in your life.  Never a truer word spoken.  Only one of the Petticoat Club has a small child.  Two more have children (one has teenagers and the other has successfully fledged hers) but the others remain resolutely child free and are not judged for that.  Two of them dress in retro style all the time (and can encounter a fair amount of judgement for it), the others dip in and out of “vintage” as it suits them.  There is a fair spread of ages (approximately 20 years) and a massively diverse range of occupations (a frock maker, journalist, cafe owner, environmental health officer, medical secretary, pole-dancer, musician and music festival supremo).  They all have a variety of interests outside their fondness for petticoats but have quickly formed a tight-knit support group and are confident that their relaxed and comfortable friendships will last.  Despite being spiky, occasionally judgemental, and possibly grumpy.  Definitely not “people” people but despite that, all rather thrilled to have discovered such like-minded beings with whom they can let down their hair (in a manner of speaking – nothing dislodges Miss Sara’s victory rolls) and be themselves.

The Club seems to have grown again with the invitation to join us on Thursday of a Potential New Member.  She was invited by one member because it was felt that she (a) wears petticoats with style (b) is a fab person and (c) thoroughly deserved a good night out.  It appears that she slotted perfectly into the one remaining chair at the usual table and is therefore cordially invited to stay.  And if she decides to stay, it means that there’s no more worrying about that spare chair.  It’s taken.

So don’t despair of meeting and making new friendships after leaving educational loiterings behind.  It is possible.  A lot of friendship making appears to be practically tribal but the diversity amongst the “members” of some of those “tribes” can be vast.   Especially if you start hanging around “vintage” and “retro” shops and events, as people who like “that kind of thing” come from every walk of life and occupation.  Admiring someone’s frock, shoes or petticoat is always appreciated by the wearer.  If they just smile and say, “Thank you,” odds are you’ve probably made their day but you never know, they might turn out to be a new friend.  And petticoat friends are fun…

Of course, there’s always one who misbehaves.  And it’s not always Miss Wednesday…

Woman in retro frock draped over long-suffering chef.

Miss Sara assaulting the lovely Joe, who cooked us delicious steaks and didn’t deserve the grief he was given. Photo stolen from Miss Tina.

We don’t think we’re banned from Papa Nino’s but poor Joe did have to go for a lie down after his ordeal.