Monday, 13 April 2015

The One Where I Flash My Pants



When I said I loved old things I only meant vintage clothes, classic cars and retro interiors, there was never any mention of ailments from the past and the underarm abscess I was diagnosed with last week sounded positively Medieval to me. Fortunately, with the help of the wonderful National Health Service, the drugs and surgical dressings are doing the trick and the evil thing shouldn't need hospital treatment after all.


Fever down and pain all but gone I was able to join Jon & work at Moseley's Vintage & Retro Fair yesterday, hanging out with the beautiful people of Birmingham's legendary bohemian suburb.


The other day Suzanne shared a few photos of culottes on Facebook, asking if we'd wear them as she wouldn't. I can't find her original link but she was right, most of them -were horrible, like these 100% polyester offerings currently on TopShop's website for 40 quid. Bloody hell, I wouldn't wear those monstrosities to wheel the bin out.

Clockwise from top left: 1960s Jean Allen raw silk culotte dress, 1960s psychedelic suit (Janne's Vintage), me-made curtain culottes x 2 and pure silk culotte dress (a gift from Desiree back in 2012)
Never one to be swayed by fashion, I've worn culottes for years just because I love them. Choosing the vintage option generally means they'll be more flamboyant and voluminous, unlike the latest versions which lack both volume and any hint of pizazz. Don't fall for the tired old fashion editor's favourite phrase, pared down. The new shape is stingy on the volume so the makers can get more out of a length of material and make more money. It's got very little to do with style or "a modern twist on a classic" (yawn).


Here's my latest pair, made by me using some vintage West African waxed cotton (courtesy of my lovely friend Claire, who also gave me the red chiffon maxi I'm wearing in the Moseley photo). I used a 1967 Style pattern which I bought from Mabel's Vintage Carriage last week.

Chalk ware St Peter statue: 99p from a charity shop this morning.

You don't need divine intervention or even much skill to make culottes - just four main pattern pieces and a zip. These took me less than three hours to make even with a gammy arm!

Me-made waxed cotton culottes worn with 1970s dagger collar bomber jacket (Easter bank holiday car boot sale, 50p) 
Two days left on Penicillin and counting - there's a bottle of aged Cuban rum sitting on the coffee table (a gift from some wonderful visitors to our pitch yesterday) and it is taunting me as I type.

See you soon!

70 comments:

  1. Right, that's got the shouting out of my system.
    LOVE them. But I need you to educate me as to the difference between culottes and flares/palazzo pants? Cos those are a very similar shape to my giant pink flares that I cut down from a jumpsuit - or was it a culotte suit? I thought culottes were short (gauchos to our American friends)?
    But hey, who cares what they're called, they are fabulous, what a great fabric. I need that pattern in my size!
    So pleased the penicillin worked, and that you managed to do both Moseley and some sewing. Oh, and Cameron is just too glamorous for words, and that yellow bomber jacket is coooool!
    Culotta love for ya, darling! xxxx

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  2. Glad you are on the mend vix , I really dont like any type of culottes , they really suit you though , xxx

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  3. @ Curtise! My pattern says "Culottes" on the back of the envelope so I'm taking their word for it! xxx

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  4. Yikes! 40 pounds! That's a lot of money. I'd rather roll up the legs of a thrifted $2 pair of jeans and call it a day.

    Your DIY creations look beautiful as usual. Get well soon and drink some rum.

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  5. Glad to hear you are feeling much better now and that the penicillin is doing the trick. I think the thing is that your culottes are full length - and fabulous - whereas most people wear those horrendous 'half-mast' culottes which are just hideous. Sadly, they seem to be what most English women of a certain age wear when the weather warms up. Ghastly!!

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  6. you've had a rough few weeks, first a cold then this abscess which sounds dreadfully painful, I certainly hope you are well and truly on the mend, I always say the word culottes, your latest creation is lovely,, great fit, thats the advantage of sewing!

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  7. Those Topshop culottes are nothing but cut down office trousers that they couldn't sell, in my humble opinion! Yours are in a different league!

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  8. Very fine pair of pants (culottes) & I bloody love the NHS! See you in Brixton, please remind me of dates nearer the time, by brain is tired x

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  9. Great mind think alike, I was actually thinking this morning that I wanted to make some culottes soon. I just need to find some fab vintage fabric! I hope you are on the mend now, that abscess sounds horrible xx

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  10. They are real "swingin' pants" - awesome x

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  11. Gag, those things from Top Shop are god awful. The make the model look frumpy. Your pair, on the other hand are beautiful.

    Happy to hear your doing better. I hate being ill.

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  12. Nasty culottes! up there with puffball skirts methinks. But having seen your me-made maxi culottes Vix I have changed my mind - I would wear those ones - they are beautifully cut/made. Glad you are better - must have missed a post as I didn't read about the abscess but glad it doesn't need cutting (yuk!).
    Betty

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  13. Hope you are feeling back to normal soon. I don't like the shorter length of those cullottes, they look so drab and unflattering. Your choices look so much better.

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  14. Glad to hear you are all well again, love the culottes.

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  15. Aaaaaarrggghhhhh......can't get away from my mother this week she had those sunflower curtains..they look far better on you than they did at her window

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  16. Poor you, hope you are at your wonderful self soon, awesome culottes ! best wishes x

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  17. Love the culottes - glad the abscess is on its way. So pleased it didn't result in an op, my son had one when he was four and it wasn't nice!

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  18. So happy to hear you are almost done with the abscess. I haven't worn culottes since I can't remember when but I do love the ones you have on. Be well, Bonnie

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  19. Glad to hear you are on the mend Vix, and WOW culottes. Remember wearing those bad boys in school, love yours, the Topshop ones...prbably why I was in there the other day and left with a definite 'meh' Uninspiring.

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  20. Gosh, there's so much that is fabulous in this post. All those lovely jumpsuits, these amazing culottes and my goodness you look so beautiful in that to-die-for red maxi. You and Cameron both look very dashing in that photo. Was Jon behind the lens? I really like culottes and wide legged trousers like this. So long as you have a very fitted top I think even a short arse like me can wear them. I'm particularly keen on African fabrics at the moment. I think it's a bit of a trend. God, that abcess sounds horrific. Glad you are on the mend. Thank goodness for the NHS, I can't praise it and all who sail in it enough. Xxxxxx

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  21. £40 !!! I want a full outfit for that. Your curtain ones are fabulous.
    We are so glad you are on the mend.
    I've pulled everything out of my dressing room, tried everything on and put lots of outfits together and I'm dumping all my boring high street gear. I can't believe how much stuff I've got now. Here's a thing though I've spent very little on all my lovely vintage bargains.
    Keep your eye open for Mr Postie Vix he's bringing you something from our trip to Brick Lane xxx

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  22. Looking gorgeous in spite of a gammy arm! Did you sew doilies on your knees or is that the fabric? I would never ever ever wear culottes. Especially 100% polyester ones. Even if they were pimped up with knee doilies. xxx

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  23. I like your version of culottes much better! Those black things are but ugly and not very flattering if you ask me. Wish we had a health care system like yours, but will probably never happen in my lifetime. :)

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  24. So glad you're feeling better, Vix. And these culottes are fantastic! The fabric and the pattern are gorgeous. Well sewn! xox

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  25. Ouch! Sounds a little painful - but glad you're on the mend!

    You'd look good in ANYthing--but you really rock the long culottes!

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  26. oh yes, it's amazing how Medieval some health issues sound (and look), so I'm glad you're recovering!! some apparently stupid little issues can be difficult to treat indeed!
    And I'm also enthusiastically glad about your new culottes, palazzo pants or whatever you call them, they're Fabulous with a f'ck'n' capital F. It's a pretty pattern, love those two pannels creating volume as a faux skirt, it's really well done!. So much better than usual shapes you can see these days!, the lack of volume in the right places and the lack of Fun Factor is annoying!
    Lovely print too, such a fab fabric!
    besos

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  27. Agh, hope you feel better soon!! BTW, looved the eyelet dress you're wearing in the glasses post, but you rock everything you wear. :D

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  28. I spent most of my music concerts in the late 80's and early 90's wearing a pair of huge black pleated culottes my Mum bought me specially for concerts. Nowadays I have 4 pairs bought over the last 4 years (modern and modern charity shopped) and yes, I notice they are MUCH skimpier! Darn those cunning material misers! Yours are stupendously stylish and I adore them!!! I have some Amazing loud wide-legged trousers like yours that I had made in Indonesia, I didn't realise culottes could be trousers length! X

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  29. Those are awesome!!! Your mad sewing skillz amaze me - zippers are a pain in my butt to do.

    Here's to you healing smoothly and fully, and that you dip into that tease of a bottle soon!

    xox

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  30. Hope your Medieval malaise comes right soon. Someone I knew had Gout which I think of Regency men getting!x

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  31. Cuban rum rocks - hope you heal up so you can have some. I feel your pain - I suddenly have developed rashes in a whole bunch of spots for no apparent reason.

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  32. The worst part of antibiotics is the prohibition part! Your fabrics really make a difference with the retro styles you make. That's the stupid part of the retro fad -- the fabrics are all wrong, especially the texture.

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  33. That's the best retrospective of proper culottes I've ever seen. And you've whipped up a new pair to join them. Madly wonderful. Every generation has their "thing"; it's just too bad the retake of the original is so lame this time around.
    I'm glad your drugs are working. Whew!

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  34. Your culottes are terrific and look great with the cool yellow jacket. I have a black floor length pair that I love, but that I never wear. I think it's time to bust them out!

    Your arm ailment sounds very painful. I'm so glad you're on the mend and won't need hospital treatment for it.

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  35. Eep...sounds a bit nasty, that abscess Vix! Do take good care of yourself!

    Second post in one evening showcasing African waxed fabric, which I learned is actually from Holland....who'd a thunk that? I was unfamiliar with this fabric....It is pretty spectacular...the colours and prints are amazing! I love your palazzos, and the yellow top is just the right hit of colour! Super fun! I also love how your silver cuffs go so beautifully with the pattern...or is it the other way around? The fabric mimics intricately carved jewelry? No matter...it's subtle, but fantastic!

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  36. I love wide leg trousers, especially for summer. I've a pattern myself for some 1930s type ones, I'll be happy if they turn out as good as yours xx

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  37. I had a pair of massive culottes back in the early 90s given to me by my mother in law and I totally loved them. I do wish I had them now, they were crazy patterned. On a personal note, I have had several abscesses, some caught with antibiotics and two that needed surgery. I can very much sympathise with you right now, and I am glad you caught it in time. Take care lovely.
    V
    xxx

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  38. Vix, I'm sorry to hear about your 'gammy' arm and hope it heals up very swiftly so you can get stuck into that rum!!

    Your culottes are wayyyyy better than the high-street ones. Are they easy to make? I might have a go some time.

    x

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  39. Really sorry to hear you have a bad arm hope it heals up fast for you. Loving the culottes you made there gorgeous and so much more stylish than the high street pair in fact there is no comparison at all high street dull and boring yours fabulous, stylish and very wearable. Dee xx

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  40. glad that you are on the way to recover!!!!
    your newest coulotte are fab - love african prints! and i love your analysis of the fashion industry - yes, thats right!
    wish i could join you for some chat and rum :-)
    xxxxxxx

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  41. Wow, they are some trousers! You look fab!
    I don't like cullotes in the modern sense of the word, they always look so unflattering.
    I hope you both feel better now xxx

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  42. Do avoid surgery whenever possible, dear Vix. I'm relieved modern medicines have put paid to the medieval ailment! Here in the states I cherish a doctor who uses the simplest (cheapest) remedies first and the scapel last: he's a rare bird who immigrated from abroad, of course.

    When I see you in yellow, or in culottes, I'm tempted to try again...but no, yellow demands your raven locks and culottes, your fit figure. Waxed cotton? Now that sounds like something one could use to create a caftan for public wear!

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  43. P.S. That's a very odd figure perched on the edge of the pond in the last pix! A praying baboon?

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  44. Cripes, there's never a good place to have an abcess; best healing and speedy return to full fabulousness to you! Even so, you've made the definitive statement on culottes, all of yours are glorious, I think your newest are my favourites today, and those poor sad TopShop things need to be put out of their misery immediately. xoxoxoxoxoxo

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  45. I love culottes!People would tease me when I would wear them and call me "old lady". Of course, when they came into "fashion" and everyone was wearing them I just rolled my eyes.

    Glad to hear you are on the mend and you look wonderful as always :)

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  46. you really are the queen of vintage. you look amazing! nothing can compare to the prints of the 60s and 70s. glad you are feeling better. x

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  47. Oooo, an underarm abscess sounds painful - glad the drugs are working! Here in Canada, culottes are short wide pants, usually ending at or just below the knee. I never liked them, but I'm a big fan of palazzo pants, which is what I would call those beauties you're wearing. Even though you say they were easy to whip up, even with a gammy arm, I have neither the sewing machine or the patience.

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  48. Your abscess sounds painful, glad they've caught it early. Those TopShop monstrosities should be banished from the face of the earth. x

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  49. Love colouttes, do look great on you(the bigger the better:)1

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  50. Thanks for the shout out lady!

    Yikes on the sore arm. I hope you are feeling better...if you're still sewing away and working I can see that it would take a train to stop you.

    I love your palazzo pants. Here they would need to be just below the knee I think to be called culottes...more like the wonderful blue outfit of culottes you are wearing that look like a onesie skirt with those red shoes.

    Sending more healing vibes your way!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  51. LOVE them ... but you have an unfair advantage ... EVERYTHING. looks good on you.
    xx

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  52. Another fabulous creation, accompanied by the most wonderful analysis of what goes on behind the scenes of "fast fashion."

    I'm happy to hear that you're healing and that a hospital visit was avoided. You will be into the Cuban rum in no time!

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  53. aahhh I had an absscess in my armpit the first time I went to India.....when I also got a swollen infected foot and hepatitus oh the joy of youth.....by the time we'd travelled from Kerela to Goa I could hardly raise my arm and it was soooo painful but my hippy boyfriend took to the ayurvedic doctor in Mapusa ...it took awhile and involved strapping a bread roll to my arm and pouring boiling milk on it every morning as a poltus and then oiling bark to drink to purify the blood but after it was all over ....my screams when the poison was squeezed out could be heard in Delhi but hey....not even the slightest scar!! Modern meds might have hurt less.....x

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  54. Striking printed culottes - you wear them beautifully!
    I had a pair a white back and they did not fit well so I just let them go.
    I have been seeing the trend back in stores but I have not jumped on the wagon… yet.

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  55. Striking printed culottes - you wear them beautifully!
    I had a pair a white back and they did not fit well so I just let them go.
    I have been seeing the trend back in stores but I have not jumped on the wagon… yet.

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  56. Striking printed culottes - you wear them beautifully!
    I had a pair a white back and they did not fit well so I just let them go.
    I have been seeing the trend back in stores but I have not jumped on the wagon… yet.

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  57. Oof! Those black culottes! Just, no.

    I adore all your fabulous creations.

    I hope you feel better soon xx

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  58. God aren't those black ones horrible!

    I hope you are 100% by the weekend so you can neck your rum with a clear conscience!

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  59. Topshop, your culottes are vile, Vix yours are fab. (are you ever off that machine?) Glad to hear your abscess has improved and trust you will be necking the Cuban rum (rocket fuel) as I type. St Peter was a steal, isn't he adorable.
    xxx

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  60. paring down is for the corporate suits. I love your culotte dresses! never thought of doing that. never seen them while shopping in India at least. and those waxed African cotton pants are fabulous

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  61. Your culotte are amazing, I love how you wear and the fabric is fantastic.
    I hope that the health problems are resolved very quickly, you are very strong as well as beautiful!
    *_*

    serena

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  62. I hope you're feeling better now - hurrah for the NHS!

    Those are splendid culottes. I never thought I'd wear wide trews but then got a pair of (repro) 1920s beach pyjamas and they're soooo comfy it feels almost wrong to be wearing them. You're right, the modern ones are a bit miserable, and stingy on the cloth.

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  63. I ended with two pair of culottes by accident.. two pairs of wide pants shrank in the washing.

    I do agree it with you that the vintage ones are a lot more interesting than the modern ones...and I'm sure you're right about them trying to save on material.

    I'm quite a rational shopper (a typical Taurus). When I pick up a clothing item, I weigh it in my hand and calculate how much it should cost (given the amount of material and taking into cosideration any aditional work or effort put into it-but one hardly ever has to do that in modern stores) and than if the number on the price that is not the same as the one in my head, I don't buy it.

    My preferance for vintage is also a preferance for better quality materials. Today one can find affortable clothes quite easily but the quality has gone down the drain...that is why vintage is perfect. well, I don't have to tell you that:)

    sorry to hear about your problem...I operated abscess several times. I have Chron so they do tend to appear ocassionaly...and it can be one really paintful surgery.

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  64. I love those colours together, the pants are great, if get bored of them , pass them my way! x

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  65. oh theses are fabulous! I wasn't keen on the idea of culottes either until now! I haven't worn them since primary school and even then they were so nicely designed they looked like an a-line skirt with a box pleat down the front. I did see some cute ones at Gorman too but i love this wide leg goucho-pant look too!

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  66. I had to look up what an abscess was... I um... no. Get well soon! Stellar trousers by the way.

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  67. OMG, those pants are to die for awesome! you paired them perfectly with the yellow top. What a fun Stunner this look is!

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  68. Isn't West African cotton just beautiful? I love it so much. Those "modern" culottes are just out and out UGLY!! I don't like to use the word "unflattering" but they are out and out unflattering....they fall at the worst place on this leg and look harsh. I agree - when it comes to culottes is go big or go home!! I LOVE your version :)

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  69. Vix!!! Those trousers! I am in LOVE.

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