Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Never Say Never



I woke up this morning with the urge to dress like an Italian widow.


Blame the demise of the Summer or watching The Young Montalbano but I reckon the real reason was that when a friend urged me to try on a 1970s dress we'd admired at Saturday's flea market I'd replied "I don't really do black" and with a shudder realised I sounded just like one of those women. 

Victorian-style lace up boots (£2, Colors Of Benetton via a car boot sale) - shame about the fallen down hem!
I'm sure you know the type. They're the ones who gasp and paw through the rails on my stall, holding dresses against them in the mirror, sighing and promptly replacing them. I can't wear that style; that colour doesn't suit me; I'm too old for that; I'd never go anywhere to wear it; I'm too short/tall/fat/thin or, even worse, No way! Everyone will look at me!...Excuses, bleeding excuses.


Look at me, I tell them - I'm a short arsed, ordinary-looking bird in my late forties, my arthritis makes me walk with a limp &  prevents me from doing up my own shoelaces. If I'm not working from home, shopping down the market or rummaging through other people's cast offs, I'm drinking in back street boozers. The highlights of my year are either being amongst the great unwashed at music festivals or bumming around India on second-class trains, sleeping in £5 a night guest houses and eating at roadside shacks. Hardly a glamorous lifestyle, is it? I could spend my life in a pair of leggings and a tee shirt and nobody would bat an eyelid but why would I want to? 


We moan about our lack of options as we grow older, that's there's nothing suitable in the high street shops and that magazines and TV shows never feature women like us. We complain about becoming overlooked and invisible when in reality we build our own prisons, blending in with  pared-down style, fuss-free clothing and neutral tones - imposing silly rules about how we should portray ourselves to the world and pointlessly trying to emulate someone else's style instead of creating our own.

Great-Great Grandfather's mourning brooch
 Mum died three years ago and Grandma less than a year before her and still people stop me and recall their incredible style. Who's going remember you if you don't stand out?

Native American pendant (car boot sale, 3 years ago) worn with Victorian bog oak mourning locket (filled with hair)
Of course, it's entirely up to an individual if they want to follow fashion & join the herd but it just exasperates me and makes me sad, in my book there's nothing worse than a wasted opportunity.

Early 1960s Young Mayfair crepe cocktail dress (Mum's) worn with a 1970s denim waistcoat (Second to None, Walsall)
A day without dressing up is a day wasted.

This Italian widow's been to Lidl in her evening gown to get a bottle of cheap cola. It's rum,coke and vintage Bollywood tonight!

See you soon.

Updated to link to Spy Girl Anne's Paint It Black.

80 comments:

  1. I waste a LOT of opportunities to dress up but I live vicariously through you and Curtise and LOVE to see what you go out in. I hope you had a coat on with todays lovely outfit. I worry for your bare arms when it's cold. I will be fighting the urge to tell you off about it until spring. xxx

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  2. It's a good look for you, Vix! Have never seen you in anything that you did look great in. :)

    xxx

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  3. You don't look like a widow at all, black is good on you, I know you prefer colour and it suits you so well. Lovely brooch too

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  4. I have to say I am one of those women. But not to the extent of giving a fig about other people though that used to be true. Its all about confidence and I guess what you feel inside. Being on the larger side you do feel you should hide. Though as I am getting older
    that attitude is fading gradually.

    But its reading inspiring women such as yourself that show that you can dance to the beat of your own drum. I love your black outfit. I think I will always be drawn to black in one way or another. It suits you as much as some of your more wonderful colourful outfits!

    keeping inspiring Vix you are so good at it!

    P x

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  5. Hurrah and Huzzah! This is vintage Vintage Vixen!

    There's only one thing I disagree with and that is the bit about being an ordinary looking bird. We'd all like to look that ordinary. My first instinct was to think, but that IS a glamorous lifestyle, then I realised that there are things like yachts and boutique hotels. I guess that's what people think of as glamorous? But actually what could be more glamorous than wearing evening dress to Lidl? You take the glamour with you.

    I have a hot date with young Montalbano tonight. I'll be skipping the neutral tones, because 'I don't really do them' ;) Bottoms up! xxxxxx

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  6. You look fab in the blackdress because you Vixified it!!

    I try "dressing" up every day if i'm going out. If i'm staying insie at home it's the tshirt and yoga pants. But NEVER to be worn out!!

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  7. I like the naming of a look/outfit, I have an Italian mama dress(that's her name), your Italian widow look is a sexy one especially with those boots, I love lace ups! it's a great world of possibility to wake up and decide what to wear once all the negatives are flung out the window - have a great rum and coke night, it's wine Wednesday for me! woop x x

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  8. A great look on you! Loving the black and the gold .
    Its a shame that' we' dont dare to dress in anything weekend like , im getting better and better at it and dont Care about others opinion .
    My work mates looks exactly like they think you should and think that im a crazy one.
    The mushrooms i dry and use in sauce and stues , they mix really well with Blue cheese and chili peppers! Delicious .
    Xxx

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  9. Amen, sister! While your lifestyle might not be glamorous, it is indeed enviable as it allows you freedom. Many people do what they think they should and not what they want in many aspects, not just clothing.
    You're a very fetching Italian widow in that ensemble.

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  10. Hi there! Black is gorgeous on you but so is every other colour and pattern too, I really love this look on you and the mourning brooch is a wonderful sentimental piece of jewellery that looks lovely on too xx

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  11. I'm there with you sister!
    I have the same comments, when, how, too old, ect...it gets me crazy sometimes - I have been told in my hood that i was the best dressed neighbor of the whole street! I dare and dare and don't care what people think!

    Arianexo

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  12. I love this Italian widow!! You can come here with me so we can mourn together!!! I love everything of this otfit, from the stunning black and golden lace dress to the beautiful Victorian mourning locket!!
    You are watching Montalbano that is setted in Sicily and a lot of women there dress in black, Dolce&Gabbana are from Sicily too and they made this look iconic! Another thing that come to my mind after seeing these photo is the resemblance with an Italian actress that I love: Monica Vitti in 'The girl with the pistol' (la ragazza con la pistola) that is filmed between Sicily and Great Britain!!!
    So this post suggested me a lot of great images and it inspired me a lot as always!
    You are the best, I'll try to wear always what makes me feel fine!!
    Love xxxxxx

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  13. I adore all your jewels, especially your family heirlooms. You can wear anything Vix, ANYTHING you want because you're free from 'rules', what's the point? You're right, sometimes the only thing stopping us is ourselves. Right! I am so going to post my cleavage next week! Watch out :-) xx

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  14. Your make me so happy when you remind us to say fuck it and dress up everyday! I am in love with this black and gold dress the waist is friggin blingtastic! I need to embrace black again after seeing you in this:) Your mourning jewelry is some of my favorite so rare so old and from your family. It's got lots of old energy in it and to think of the hands it's passed through.

    Your eyes are extra bright today and I think that shade of blue shadow suits you like an Italian widow. You are gorgeous and I wanna hug! A big one because your awesome!
    LOVEYOUXXXOOO

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  15. You never look ordinary - thank goodness. Your zest for life shines out of you always. Your fab outfits just make you even more amazing. x

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  16. I love the gold belt - I would love to see pictures of your mum and grandmother.

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  17. Hell yeah!
    Love the Italian widow look.
    I feel exactly the same when I hear women trot out that line and then settle for fleece. I refuse to disappear because I'm over forty. It's bollocks.
    I have to wear trousers and big boots for work on account of all the crap that comes my way, but I make sure they are my big fuck off boots, I also never go without my slap, my earrings and an attitude. One can always dress up when everyone expects you to be ordinary.
    Raising a fat glass of rum to you now, I am.
    Loves ya.
    xxxxx

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  18. I love the Italian Widow look! Black is my scene though, always fancied wearing a black lace headdress. You also look like an Inca Queen my dear! Want those lace up boots - FABULOUS! x

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  19. Hahhahahha. Can you hear me laughing?
    Only you could get up one day with the urge to dress like an Italian widow.
    You are IT.
    The dress, the pendant, the perfect make up, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  20. I'm with you in that standing out is the way to go, both in what you wear and in how you present yourself.

    I tend to be one who talks to strangers quite a bit ... just little bits here and there and not in an annoying way (hopefully!).

    Life is just more fun when you're a bit different than the pack.

    Oh and you look terrific in black!

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  21. You look lovely in black (like every other colour there is - curses!!!)

    I love how you incorporate family heirlooms that would ordinarily be kept in a box somewhere 'safe' and never see the light of day - we get to see them! How lucky are we?

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  22. Firstly you're gorgeous there's no average looking bird business here, you're beautiful. Along with that you have the most awesome attitude to fashion, style, age, life and more....it's contagiously positive and inspiring.

    Secondly I must also add how many people around my age (35) who I hear already moan and groan that they're too old to wear this or that, or are getting to old to do something or other. It astound me that people in there 30's can just start to form such stupid thoughts and attitudes about fashion and life and what they can do.

    That's why I love you so, you just run you own race and dance to the beat of your own drum.......I can't think of anything more beautiful than that. X

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  23. I love the black and gold - the jean vest makes it so unpredictably cool!
    I like how you always add a rockers touch to your outfits, always a bit rough ..not too perfect, the look is wonderful.
    age appropriate...hmm not sure about that I am not that different 20 years later, maybe a bit weathered and wiser!

    Best to you Vix!

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  24. Bloody hell Vix. this pist especially meaningful tonight as have been at a neighbour's getting pissed and discussing my immediate next door neighbours. Mrs. who is Italian and 84 coping with husband 88, both have dementia and 5 kids who are worse than useless. Italian widow??? she might as well have been for the last umpteen years, but no she has coped with fortitude and moral fibre. You my darling, look the dogs bollocks as usual. Please excuse my drunken rant. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  25. oh how refreshing! I find it so frustrating when people say 'I couldn't wear that' or 'how do you wear so much colour', I always want to shake them and say you can too!! Its so great to see people just enjoying clothes and wearing items they love.

    Lally

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  26. I'm palpitating with delight at this fecking DIVOON outfit!!! Jaysus, woman, this is how a gal wears black! WOOF! What a frock! Love the gold embellishment, and I could just VOMIT with envy over your Victorian mourning jewellery, you know that shit makes me wild!!! I really think you may have outdone yourself here...until next time!!!!
    You fecking ROCK the hlel out of life, me and everyone you come into contact with! Love you SO much I could SCREAM!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  27. The highlights of your year sound like a dream to me. THOSE BOOTS! HOLY! I'm on my way to find some lace up boots now for forever.

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  28. Ever Heard of Vali Myers, "the witch of Positano"? So cool! (and Positano is my favourite-village)

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  29. Did I tell you I worked in a boutique aimed at older women. Nothing could get past some of their self made fashion prisons and weird ideas about what they should wear. I stopped bothering to offer advice very quickly and got told off for reading a book and not talking to customers.
    I do like this Italian Widow look, although you look rather like a widow who's rich husband died in mysterious circumstances. I love those boots every time I see them, the dodgy hem adds a bit of punkness. Keep being fabulous! xxxxxxx

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  30. The dress is fabulous! As usual I love your accessories too. The outfit really tells a story - as vintage should! In honour of this post I'm going to wear something very bright and noticeable and not bland in at all!

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  31. My Dear Vix. You are one of the most glamorous women I know... Wait. THE most glamorous woman I know. You are living the life.

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  32. Your style puts a real strong positive message out there. There is too much negativity in the world and you are the best antidote!

    And gees, you're killing me with your jewelry!!!

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  33. I couldn't agree more with the sentiment, "Who's going remember you if you don't stand out?"

    I love that you decided to dress like an Italian widow! LOL

    And the boots! oh baby the boots...LOVE

    You are so lucky to have your Mom's cocktail dress.

    I have to say you remind me a bit of Cher here, Ms. Fashion Wonderful Ageless Vixen of all time.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  34. Vix once again you are a fountain of knowledge and inspiration! Im certainly not planning on being a shrinking violet as i grow older. My mum is one of those sorts of women. She'll only wear light blue a other pastel colours. She has lots of other "rules" as well that i sometimes find slipping into my head, but i punch them away! Blue and green should always be seen!

    I supposed some women dont want to be labeled as "mutton dressed as lamb". but if they stopped caring what people thought of them, maybe they would dress up? I dont know if its a generational thing, but i guess in their heads getting old means disappearing into the background? sadly...

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  35. Sounds wonderful! all this ranch work has me wearing blue jeans all the time and country clothing. I try my best to spruce it up ...usually I have on a cute pair of cowboy boots or some cute jewelry. Haha but thats about the most of it lately... I agree we all have a mark to leave on the world, a legacy for others to remember us by, who wants to be forgotten like a wallflower right?? Your beautiful don't ever change ~Love Heather

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  36. Ha, I LOVE it when you get all fired up, and despite your reluctance to wear black, your Italian Widow look is spectacular! Of course, it helps that you are wearing your darling mum's fabulous black and gold frock, and that cheeky denim waistcoat from STN, and those fuck-off boots. You have completely Vixified the dreary notion of the LBD.
    I think we have to accept that some women actually WANT to be unobtrusive. I have friends who say all those "I could never wear..." statements, and it's largely about not wanting to draw attention to themselves. So beige and neutrals it is. But that's up to them; me, I'll take the Vix route any day of the working week, and not worry about the occasional raised eyebrow!
    We're not paring down, darling - we're rocking frocking up! xxxxxxxxxx

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  37. Amen Sister! Life is far too short to not be your own fabulous self!

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  38. If this is Italian widow, I will eat my veil! ; > You look fabulous as ever, rocking the black and gold and showing the world your glorious style. xoxo

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  39. Rockin' the world in Vix style. Love it!
    xo
    d

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  40. If only everyone was half as "ordinary looking" as you, lady!


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  41. I'm with Curtise - I LOVE when you get fired up too! That dress is amazing - the incredible gold lacy waist bit is exquisite! ALso love that eyeshadow... Barry M, I presume? I'm wearing the same colour today.

    Gorgeous, as ALWAYS, amor!

    Love you more than glamour, sunshine and no stupid rules!

    Sarah xxx

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  42. I'm with Curtise - I LOVE when you get fired up too! That dress is amazing - the incredible gold lacy waist bit is exquisite! ALso love that eyeshadow... Barry M, I presume? I'm wearing the same colour today.

    Gorgeous, as ALWAYS, amor!

    Love you more than glamour, sunshine and no stupid rules!

    Sarah xxx

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  43. Well said!! I dress for me, no one else, just me!!

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  44. This is so true. Despite being self conscious about both face and body, I love dressing up, I don't believe you're 'too old' for certain styles or that particular colours don't work. I was trying on clothes next to a woman, mid 40s, the other day who hated everything she put on. She'd looked magnificent in geometric pants but left without buying them as she was 'too old and fat.' I really felt for her.

    Sophie.

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  45. You are the sexiest and most seductive Italian widow one can imagine. Yeah, on some people black looks mourning but not on you, especially in combination with golden. Stunning look!

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  46. Ha, due to the fact I'm a freelancer and phd student working from home, I also dress up for the super market ;) Yesterday, I managed to wear two different outfits to go there (500 meters from my home) ;) Love that dress, black suits you well, too but I prefer you wearing bright colours :)

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  47. I love that dress its gorgeous. I sometimes think I am one of those women who say I am 40 now maybe I should not wear that but then I think to myself I feel and look younger and even if I did not then why the hell should I not be able to wear what I want! Its not like I go out flashing my underwear. I like to follow fashion to a degree but I would not wear something just because its in fashion if it did not suit me. I guess I am saying I am not a slave to fashion, I like what I like and wear what I want and some people may think its too young for me BUT who cares!

    I love the fact that you don't give a damn what people think :) xx

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  48. Ahhh - each to their own. If you do dress to stand out you've got to have skin thick enough to withstand the commentary of the fashion police (and I think that's what "ooh you're so brave" means), as well as (ahem) other unwanted attention. Once you've developed that couldn't-give-a-toss attitude and the Lady Bracknell style froidure for when you need it (and I think it comes with age/practice) - then you can prance about with delight wearing whatever you please.

    Some folks lavish the same attitude on their car or 'it' handbag or their beige. So long as folks delight in something - life is too short not to.

    Also - you can change your mind - I spent YEARS wearing exclusively black clothing. I never ever thought I'd change away from that - and now I'm a kaleidoscope.

    Looking regal Vix xx


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  49. Hot widow! Love your brooch and the gorgeous gold waistband on your dress. I must admit to having a bit of a black habit but I do bling it up with jewellery! M x

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  50. Great post! You are so right about some of us making excuses about why we don't do things - I'm going to try a bit harder just to be me!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  51. I must admit, I do tend to stay away from black. Only because where I'm so ghostly pale it makes me look a bit ill! You look gorgeous in your outfit though, I just love your makeup too.

    I find it sad how as women get older they seem to think that they can't wear certain clothes. I certainly will not be blending into the background as I get older! x

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  52. My father was Italian (and Irish) and told me to never admit to being anything but Italian. So I am Italian. But I have never been a widow. Imagine, 3 marriages and not one opportunity for widowhood. If I was an Italian widow though, I believe this would be a perfect outfit. I don't consider myself to be a follower of anyone when it comes to style... but I have to tell you, I am so ready to run upstairs right now and paint my eyelids fish scale green. LOVE IT! XOXOXO

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  53. Brilliant post Vix, words of wisdom and great pics too - you look beautiful in black. I love the theatricality of black, especially with those flashes of gold and turquoise. I'm with you, sister, on wishing women would have more fun with their clothes. It depresses me to see how many women of all ages, but particularly our 30-50 bracket, just throw on a grey baggy t-shirt and jeans, and think they're looking good (or even SMART if they add high heels, ugggh). Everyday can mean drama, fun and frivolity if you ask me! I'm often taken for being younger than my pushing-40 years simply because the expectation is that only 20 somethings bother to wear colourful flowing dresses. Sounds like you had a brilliant training in how to dress with panache from your dear Mum and Grandma, they'd be proud of you now my dear.

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  54. Hey!
    I love reading your blog, but never comment (I really should comment more on blogs!)
    I'm the same, I take the opportunity to 'dress up' every day, (but still get annoyed when people ask me where I am going/have I got a date/whats the occassion.... no! this is just me and my style!)
    I'm lucky enough to work in an office with a creative flair, where our individuality is encouraged, and yet I still get comments day to day from work colleagues.
    I like what I wear and how I look, and yes as others have said some thicker skin is needed, but I know how I feel when I go to work on the tube in the morning. If what I am wearing makes me walk taller and with a smile, great. If someone else doesn't 'get that' its their loss, but I have inspired ladies in the office to wear more colours :-)

    Tricia
    xoxo

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  55. Fabulous ensemble, Vix... as ever, the Queen of Style :-)

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  56. oh dear...ive reached that age where i have to resist the urge to pick up beige in the charity shops , im fighting it as best i can...lol

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  57. Another magnificent post! However, I am of the opinion that you do live a glamorous life and you have the outfits to prove it. Here's to standing out and loving it!

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  58. Completely agree with you, just wish I had the time, energy and, most of all, the motivation to make an effort myself! ah well, will have live vicariously through your wonderful self for now x

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  59. Super fabby and such fun you are !!
    My chickens love it when I dance around our little farm in my fancy boots and toss them bread ! My neighbors seem to enjoy it as well .

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  60. so cool. i love all the accessories! you did it wonderfully:)

    www.gulaabigirl.com

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  61. I LOVE it when you do posts like these, and become the cheerleader for the rest of us oddballs that would rather wear a vintage dress and eye-popping jewellery to go about our day rather than blend in with the crowd. YOu bring a bit gob of glamour to everything you do, even your Italian Widow incarnation.

    You are so right, we do create our own prisons in our head that keep us from doing this or that. It's so much about fear - of looking ridiculous, of what people will say, and of standing out from the crowd. Some of us get to the point where we don't give a flying f**ck, others never do. I want to leave an impression and something to say I was here, even if it's just a flash of pink/yellow/orange shoes ;)

    I think you should collect posts like this into a little book and call it "Life According to Vix", who is anything but ordinary looking!

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  62. You don't look a lot like an Italian widow to me - you look fab as usual.
    I think I've been falling into the trap of looking boring for last month or two. Your post has come at exactly the right time for me. I'm smiling as I type. Thank you! xxx

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  63. Agree with you about the 'invisible' thing, it's just bollocks- you have to watch Fabulous Fashionistas, you'll love it!

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  64. I am a big fan of black & gold!!!! <3

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  65. mama mia.....quite stunning!! I couldn't have put it better myself......never give up, never surrender!!!x

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  66. You look perfect!

    I'm so in love with your boots xx

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  67. I need those boots. I need those boots. I need those boots. I need those boots!!

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  68. "We build our own prisons." Well, amen to that! How utterly right you are. People are always telling me how glamourous I am, when in reality, all I am doing is making sure I wear earrings and the outfit is pleasing (to me) in some fashion. That's what passes for glamour these days!

    Having just been on a trip to Prague, I can say the airports were full of women "dressed down" in jeans, and non-descript tops in colours of "muted mud". They all looked like carbon copies of each other.

    You have it SO RIGHT Vix. Hope you watch the Fabulous Fashionistas program that is on TV later this week.

    Much love from Rose of
    www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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  69. i love everything about this outfit ... the mix of black, gold and denim is so great ... and i totally envy those amazing lace up boots!

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  70. As a big fan of Italian widow chic and all things black in clothing I salute your stylish turn to the dark side. You look fabulous in black! And staggeringly like Cher in these photos if you don't mind me saying so! I loved the ranty post too - whole heartedly agree. Since I discovered your blog I always repeat your little mantra of a day without getting dressed up being a day wasted when I'm getting dressed.

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  71. Couldn't agree with your sentiments more! Too many people are ok with wearing 'old people clothes' when they're still young (i.e. hiding away etc, haha, I don't mean vintage etc!) and everyone is ashamed to 'stand out'. It's a pity.
    Your brooch is so beautiful and the fact it has such meaning is exquisite, it's marvellous you wear it out; I think a lot would squirrel it away in a drawer - it's far too special to be hidden away.

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  72. Young Montalbano, hubba hubba. I lived in Milan for a year or so, teaching English, and even though this, and the main series, is set in Southern Italy, it reminds me so mch of liing there. And I can kind of follow it without subtitles!

    You are completely the sexy southern italian lady here. I can't get over the victorian mourning necklace, it looks so dense - is it heavy? That would have been knockout with a white ruff and victorian dress.

    I don't mind the 'ooh I can't wear that' brigade, just that often that is how the non-compliment lips in. 'oh you can away with it, as you are so slim, but I couldn't etc etc'. what am I supposed to say to that?

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  73. Vix, you are looking especially beautiful here. Your efforts are never wasted on anyone who encounters you. I'm thinking very early 1970s Italian vampire nun porn here when I look at you ... and that's a good thing baby!!!!!!!! I've only just learned that you lost your dear grandmother a year earlier than your beautiful Mum. I'm so sorry. I'm heartened that the locals remember them well and with you as a Walsall icon, I imagine they feel both blessed and relieved the next generation has stepped up to the plate and you are shaking the tree!!! xooxoxo

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  74. Vixcita,
    Love you're passionate rants you inspire us all amor.I adorar you in Italian biatch widow vampira dress. Especially love you mas knowing that Victorian bog oak mourning locket is filled with hair. who's hair? Grandmother? reminds of the hair spells I have laying around.

    Besos

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  75. That's a mighty stylish outfit Vix. I probably wear too much black, especially since we're just coming out of winter. Here in NZ, this Friday is loud shirt day, when we raise money for hearing impaired people. A couple of people asked me today if I was going to wear a loud shirt, and I told them EVERY day is loud shirt day.

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  76. I don't agree that you're an ordinary looking bird, you're a stunner Vix, and your lifestyle does have its own glamour I think, it's like romance, to me romance isn't red roses and champagne, that's just a cliche of romance, not the real thing. I'm waffling again and the pc or the keyboard is giving me a hard time here so I'll get on with it before everything packs in. I love this outfit on you, I've always liked the Italian widow look and you do it beautifully, I know you like colour more but black is lovely on you too. I must a dmit I am often one of those women who wastes opportunities to dress up, my confidence goes up and down a lot. I love the idea of your gran, your mum and now you all being Walsall legends, I remember glam ladies from my home town, my mum has had her moments too over the years, I always remember her in her 70's catsuits and platforms. xx

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  77. I love you. It's all in how you frame it, right? Plus you really do look good in black. XXXXXXXOOOOOOOO

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  78. We both gravitate towards brights but a little dose of black can be refreshing at times. Thanks for linking up!

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