Profiles In Style With…..Jill MacLachlan (Tea With The Vintage Baroness)
It’s no secret that I am a lover of all things vintage so it should come as no surprise that I was instantly smitten with the lovely Jill MacLachlan, ardent vintage fashion blogger and her delightful blog, Tea With The Vintage Baroness.
While vintage dressing is not part of my daily routine as it is for Jill (who has definitely mastered the art of dressing vintage like a sophisticated belle of another era), I find I am endlessly inspired by the fab outfits she models for her readers on a daily basis. If rousing the vintage lover in all of us wasn’t enough, she also happens to be the chic proprietress of Adeline’s Attic Vintage, an online vintage clothing shop on Etsy, a definite must-visit for anyone who loves to uncover stunning vintage treasures!
I have always been fascinated with ladies and gents who walk the chic line of dressing vintage with such finesse so you can imagine how tickled pink I was when Jill agreed to share a few of her style secrets with us!
How do you describe your personal style: To borrow from the title of the 1938 Ginger Rogers movie I’m a Vintage loving “Vivacious Lady”: I like well tailored, high quality garments that are elegant but with whimsical or charmingly cute details, like bows, dots, and plaid.
Style Icon(s): I must say that, these days, my style icons all hail from the 1930s. I think the anonymous women in 30s knitting pattern books, fashion magazines, pattern illustrations exude an effortless grace and elegance that I admire. As for specific icons, Jean Harlow is one of my favourites. She looked just as fantastic in casual wear as her famous “painted on” gowns. Myrna Loy’s style on-screen and off in the 30s also inspires me and I have a perpetual style crush on Renee Perle, photographic muse of Jacques Henri Lartigue. Of course, I’m constantly inspired by the innovative styles of my fellow vintage fashion bloggers, too!
Modern day style crush: Carey Mulligan!
Go-to outfit: When I want to feel my snazziest self, I put on my favourite red 30s crepe rayon dress with cream ruffle flourish. I love that I can slip it on in a wink, and feel instantly, effortlessly chic and unique.
Accessory you can’t live without: Sunglasses!
Current Weekend Uniform: If I’m lounging about the house, I’m usually wearing one of my early 30s lounging pajama sets. Otherwise, I’m pretty physically active on the weekends, so I often wear Lululemon active wear when I’m on the trails hiking or walking the dog.
Signature Scent: Unfortunately, my scent choices are limited by allergies/sensitivity to strong perfumes. For special occasions, I do love to wear Chanel Allure: I have this special bottle my beloved grandfather bought for me over ten years ago and there’s still some left in it (shows you how sparingly I use scents)! Otherwise, I regularly wear Bobbi Brown’s “Beach.” It reminds me of time spent in Hawaii. I spritz that scent on all year long when I feel the winter blahs encroaching!
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: I’m not sure what other people covet of mine (maybe one of the pieces in my 30s knit/crochet wear collection, such as a crocheted evening gown?). I’m pretty in love with this amazing 30s plaid coat I bought last fall.
Must-have beauty/grooming essential: Bobbi Brown’s lip balm. This stuff even works wonders on cracked cuticles or pesky flyaway hairs in a pinch!
Best beauty/grooming advice you have ever heard: Don’t obsess about the size numbers on a garment’s tags. Worry about ideal fit, not squeezing into a particular dress size. Clothing that is too small will rarely look as good on you as clothing that is the right size for YOU.
You can never have too many: 1930s dresses!!!
Style “Don’t”/Pet Peeve: I really don’t like that people tend not to dress differently (or appropriately) to suit different contexts or occasions. A morbid example: I passed a group of mourners outside the local funeral home recently and admit I was mortified to see a majority of wearers in bright coloured miniskirts, Lycra yoga pants, and shorts. The scene just seemed “wrong” somehow. In general, I find really short skirts and shorts to be “don’ts” in most contexts (outside nightclubs or the beach), but I’m probably a fuddy-duddy that way.
Favourite style era: 1930s!!!!
Trend you could do without: I’m not a fan of the recent tendency towards dress hemlines well above the knee, but I particularly dislike the fact that most garments now labelled as “dresses” are a length I consider to be more akin to the length of a tunic top. I just don’t find that length to be particularly flattering or functional on a majority of women.
What will never go out of style: Dressing to suit your own body, lifestyle, and tastes.
East coast or West coast: Well, I lived on the West Coast of Canada for a decade, and now I live in “Eastern Canada,” outside Toronto, so I think both have a lot to offer, but, in the end, I must concede I love the East coast more. I love having four seasons, not only because autumnal scenes with vibrant falling leaves are my favourite, but such seasons give one the opportunity to wear awesome tweed and plaid outerwear that one just can’t wear most of the time on the soggy Canadian West Coast.
Currently obsessed with: berets: sweater coats, red plaid dresses in The Portland Collection for Pendleton
Favorite night out: Casa Loma’s Big Band Dance nights or dinner on the patio at the Palais Royale during the summer.
Favorite city/vacation destination: Paris will always hold my heart and imagination, but I’ve fallen deeply in love with Toronto and savour every minute of weekend jaunts there. I still dream of doing a foodie tour across Italy, though.
Never travel without: Your own functioning earbuds/headphones
Favorite websites: Etsy, eBay, L’Officiel online archives.
Favorite film: The Thin Man, due to the fashions, the witty banter, William Powell
Favorite quote: “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.” Myrna Loy
Always searching for the perfect: black trousers and dark jeans (so hard to find ones with the perfect rise and leg width/cut)
Greatest extravagance hanging in your closet/wardrobe: 1930s bias cut gown with sequined capelet collar. Swoon!
Never leave home without: looking in a full length mirror!!
Signature cocktail: A gin + grapefruit juice cocktail known as a Greyhound
Go-to gift: a nice bottle of wine (esp. from a local winery) or home-baked goodies (I make some pretty great cupcakes and apple crumble)
On my iPod: Al Bowlly, Austra, Janet Klein, Florence + the Machine and most things in between!
Currently reading: Harlow in Hollywood; Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw
Ultimate luxury splurge: A trip to LA for the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles’s weekender on the Queen Mary
Describe your home in one word: historical
Dream dinner guest: Amelia Earhart
What inspires you: 1930s black and white fashion photography, particularly the work of George Hoyningen-Huene depicting early 30s fashions of the likes of Jean Patou, Chanel, Lucien Lelong, etc.; time spent at the lake or in the mountains; knowing people who, despite advancing age and/or tragedy and/or hardship, continually embrace life with optimism, vitality, and open hearts and minds.
Hobby/pastime you could not live without: vintage fashion blogging (and tweeting!)
It wouldn’t be ‘my’ party without: A multi-course meal (with as much of it prepped ahead as possible): Wine and Italian/Mediterranean antipasti and tapas platters, caprese salad, dolmades, a good crusty French baguette, olives, robust cheeses. Gnocchi, ravioli in browned butter w. basil and pinenuts, or a mushroom risotto. Gelato, cannolis, tiramisu, baklava. These are best enjoyed with some Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt, Rat Pack in the background.
Life would be grand if I could start every day….in Jean Harlow-esque peignoirs, best worn in a boudoir like the one her character inhabits in the movie, Dinner at Eight!!
If I could bring back one thing it would be….HATS worn daily by men and women.
Stranded on a desert island, what 5 things could you not live without: the ability to connect to the Internet, the ability to listen to Al Bowlly music, my vintage clothing!!!!, my little kit with hair freshening powder, tweezers, moisturizers, my Fred & Ginger movie DVD box set (and ability to watch)
Why Don’t You…Face the music and DANCE! Seriously: signing up for ballroom dancing has been the best thing I’ve done in a long time.
1. Carey Mulligan 2. Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight 3. Amelia Earhart
4. Harlow in Hollywood 5. Jacques Henri Lartigue and his muse Renee Perle