Friday, 29 April 2011

Granny chic or granny-style: more fashion hints from one who knows

I have a tale of woe to tell, a sad story not of granny chic in all its retro stylishness, as epitomized by such icons of chic grannydom as Michelle at The Royal Sisters and Tif at Dottie Angel, but of plain granny.

Sadly, their retro stylishness sets the bar very high, and I, alas and alack, seem to have come crashing down at the first hurdle.

It all started with a cardigan, as most things seem to do in my life, a cardi of the imagination which would be a high point in granny styling.

I searched and found a pattern (Toasty in Rowan's Winter Gifts), and found the most wonderful wool in my secret stash cupboard (which the Head Chef thinks is where I keep my coats).

Duchess in Devonshire, a soft sage green, is one of the Skein Queen's delectable productions: her yarn is the stuff of dreams, and seems drawn towards my cottage by a mysterious process in which, as in a waking trance, I stalk the corridors of her shop in the ether that is the interweb.

I even have a tea dress in peachy-pink coloured silk decorated with little fans (a cast-off from my dear mamma), and I could borrow some green wellies from Princess Bunchy to complete the ensemble ... what more could an ageing mother of three want to complete her life but a fetching little green cardi?

And the buttons: I haven't told you about the buttons. I went a-rummaging in my button box, my inheritance from my own dear departed grandmamma, and found a set of very retro-looking peachy buttons  - genuine vintage, or certainly something very like.

The cardi was nearly a year in the making - things happened, events occurred - I picked it up and put it down, all the while fortified by an image of Pomona transformed into a glamorous granny.

But, woe is me, such a thing was not to be ... the cardi was finished and stitched. I began to feel uneasy.

'It's all in the blocking,' I told myself stoically. 'Just wash it, and it's bound to shape up.'

And lo and behold! Yes, it did shape up: into a cardi for a girl with coathanger shoulders and an ample bosom - just like girls were in the 1940s.

But for me, with inadequate foundations, physically and materially - there is not enough of me, shoulderwise or frontage, to fill the space. In short, the sartorial effect is just plain granny, and chic doesn't get a look-in.

You will see that in spite of Princess B's best efforts at styling and photography, and my efforts at putting my shoulders in various positions, the cardi reverts to type, and reveals that without a puff of something (muscle?) at the top of my arm, there is space to fill. And I did sew it up so carefully ...

So if you choose to knit Toasty, I recommend you go a size down, and possibly buy some shoulder pads.

Me - well, I have been on a régime of only one helping of cake a day, in order that the silk of the tea dress has nothing to cling to, but I can see that I have been taking the wrong tack.

And Princess Bunchy has come up with the solution: she made a very special cake to celebrate Royal Wedding day.

As you see here, it appears quite calorific, and expansive:  I will just have to up my cake ration and hope that rather than settling on the hips, it will come to rest a little higher.

And all is not lost on the green knitting front: I am very pleased with my green stripy socks, which have their own little tale to tell, but that, dear readers, is a story for another day.

Have a good weekend.


Anonymous said...

Aw, it looks lovely from here, but I know what you mean when you don't feel like a garment has done quite what you wanted it to... It might be a slow burner - one that seems better a few weeks later. Possibly?

Serenata said...

Wonderful story :-) No chance of it moving up...I've tried and all that happens is the weight goes onto the stomach and hips...FIVE pairs of jeans I tried on this morning to my dismay...No cake for me!

Lola Nova said...

I think you are the epitome of granny chic in this darling outfit! Honestly, the cardi is beautiful and you are remember, quite glamorous! I do understand the feeling of things not coming out how you imagine, still...I love it.
And that cake looks awfully good too.

KC'sCourt! said...

I think it looks very pretty, and the buttons look really good. I love it
Julie xxxxxxx

Lyn said...

oh dear, yes I am afraid the modern woman is nothing like the shape of our 1940's sister! My mum knit me a short sheeve jumper from a vintage pattern and that too needs pads in the shoulders, I do love the tea dress though!

Daisie said...

You too have a lovely weekend and I love the cardi, I suggest eating more cake and lifting wieghts? x

Hen said...

So good to see you back! Love the dress and the cardi, how gutting it was not quite right for you. That's why I generally don't make clothes, knowing a cushion or a quilt will always "fit"!
Love Hen xxx

Caroline Lovis said...

Cardi & dress - perfect match ultra vintage chic

Karen L R said...

knitting disappointments are so exasperating!

i had a frustrating bit of shopping this afternoon. now that i have turned 55, gravity seems to have taken on a new power. *sigh*

but there's a bright spot today...lovely bit of royal celebration, even for us yanks.


taylorsoutback said...

What a heavenly shade of green. The yarn you chose is exquisite - makes me want to pull out my neglected knitting needles and start in!

Sorry about those shoulders - I could certainly help you out with the part! :o)

Here in the US we were entranced by the simple elegance of the Royal Wedding - beautifully done!

Frances said...

I do agree that the yarn is lovely, the buttons perfectly chosen, your knitting ... just right.

It is so difficult to know how a "tailored" knitting pattern is going to turn out. When knitting garments, I've generally steered clear of closely fitting items, and kept to boxy items that get their charms from either color or pattern details, or focus on trying to get my small waist as a focus and sleeves to match my short arms. Oh, I could go on....

Barbara said...

Apart from the shoulders it looks quite trendy rather than grannyish.
Thinking on the subject, it is all relative as 'granny' styles changes with ones age I imagine.

Granny to my daughter will be different from granny to me!

Lovely cake and delicious I bet.

melanie said...

The clothes are fab, I love granny style :)
The cake looks yummy, may I have a slice please :) xxx

Ellie said...

Hello, I've just noticed that you're back! I'm not the most observant person, but it's so good to hear from you again.

Gina said...

I think the colours and style look gorgeous (such a pretty dress)... wouldn't shoulder pads solve the problem because you do look lovely.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Well, I think you look lovely in the cardy and tea dress!! And as for that delicious looking sponge......x

Little Blue Mouse said...

What a shame you're disappointed with the cardigan because it is really lovely.
Like others have said, I would try shoulder pads in it.

andrea creates said...

aw, that's too bad, as it looks so pretty. at least you'll know for next time ;)
the cake looks delicious too!
thanks for stopping by :)

PinkCatJo said...

It's a gorgeous colour and looks great with such a pretty dress. Do you think you'd both to try again to get it right?

Helen Philipps said...

You still looked lovely in your new cardi, even if it wasn't quite how you wanted it to be! The tea dress looks very pretty too.
Have a great week.
Helen x

The Fairy Glade said...

The cardy looks lovely from where I am sitting and that dress is to die for. My sort of style if I wasn't built like a small continent! Thanks for stopping by the Fairyglade, I often feel like I am rambling away to myself. How nice that you know the places in the photos. I love that sculpture by the pier. Have a lovely week. dev x

Mister D said...

Lovely photos

Ever - The red house by the lake said...

It looks lovely on the pictures though. Love the green color and the dress is amazing!

Lisa said...

Thank you for visiting me and leaving a comment. I love your tea dress and the photo of your dotty clogs!
Lisa x

**Anne** said...

I loved this post, funny and entertaining. Actually the cardi looks quite lovely on you whether or not you feel your proportions don't do it justice.

Arianwen said...

What a shame! It is soo frustrating when you spend all that time knitting and it isn't right. Having said that the photos are gorgeous and the dress is stunning. Why don't you pull out the cardi if you are sure you can't live with it( I actually really like it) and make Lisel instead?

GardenofDaisies said...

Oh, I do LOVE your Duchess soft green cardigan, even if it doesn't fit quite the way you had hoped. And I have to say that cake looks delicious, and the dotty clogs so cute!! I just love your whole blog! I'm your newest follower!

Ellie said...

I meant to add that the cardigan is very pretty. Green is my favourite colour, but I suspect i would have the opposite problem - my shoulders would be the envy of many a rugby player. To be honest, I suspect no one would have noticed the shoulder issue if you hadn't mentioned it. It looks lovely.x

Tabiboo said...

I think it looks lovely....and so do you - no matter how you wear it.


Have a beautiful day,

Nina x

Sarah said...

Simply gorgeous! Great to have you back by the way.

harmony and rosie said...

I think it's a gorgeous little combi. Having no chest myself I can totally sympathise but far better that than the other, I say, so wear it every day!!

Away to research the Sunday Telegraph now, I feel I'm missing out somewhat.
Kate x

andamento said...

I think your little cardi looks great and you wear it very well. As for the cake, delicious! Thanks for the link to the article, I had a read, all very enjoyable and interesting though it sounds like hard work too.


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