The Ladybug is melancholic: missing buying vintage abroad!

In the last few years I managed to put together two of my biggest passions: travelng and vintage.

I loved my “vintage preparation” before heading to a new town, imagining the shops and the gems that I could find there, enjoying exploring a new city and its vintage treasures…I miss all this so much. And while I am thinking of making new guides of my favorite vintage shops in the many town that I have visited, I try to buy online every now and then from the places where I have been (or I long to be) just not to lose completely the flavor of this vintage research abroad.

When everything closed in March last year I was exactly in that phase of “vintage preparation” as I had to be in Southern Spain beginning of the month and I was preparing the trip with the “not-to-miss” vintage shops around. I was so disappointed to cancel this trip and everything that went with it.

There is something about buying vintage abroad that fascinates me, I think that it depends on the view on vintage that every country has. Abroad the shops and the vintage selection that you may find can be very different from country to country, because in the different places people culturally approach vintage in different ways, which is very fascinating to me. It is one of the aspects of my never-ending vintage research that I miss more right now.

This outfit is an example of various pieces found in different places around the world:

  • The purple lurex knitted top is Italian, it comes from Humana Vintage in Milan
  • The vintage silky skirt (with lovely peacock print) comes from a lovely shop called Szputnyik in Budapest, a town that really surprised me for the extensive offer of vintage!
  • The vintage bag comes from Budapest too, from a little lovely shop called Lovebug Vintage
  • The shoes come from New York, one of my most massive vintage adventures!
  • The beautiful purple flower brooch is not vintage, but a lovely Christmas present from my friend who found it in a vintage and handmade market in Rome!

Well, this is what I call a multicultural or multi-latitude vintage outfit, definitely my favorite ones!

The Ladybug’s fight for quality vintage winter nightwear

As it happens at this time every year, I am in the middle of a stressing struggle to find quality winter nightwear!

I am someone who really feels the cold (especially since I live in Milan!) and in the last few years I have been looking for quality vintage winter nightwear such as warm pajamas and nightgowns because, let’s face the truth, what you can find nowadays in the shops or online is really cheap and of the worse quality ever!

Before looking for this type of clothes on the vintage side I have been looking for ages in shops: high street offers as usual a range of poor quality products, highly toxic and basically made of plastic, so no surprise, but even sewing shops (Italian “merceria“) are now selling low quality products and this really makes me upset. When I was a kid we used to go to old sewing shops to buy good quality nightwear both in summer and winter. Warm pajamas and nightgowns were the best as they were super warm and high quality but today even in these shops quality has dramatically dropped off.

I was realizing that the fabric used for this type of nightwear is more and more the pile (also in the form of chenille) a synthetic fabric chemically produced by the petroleum, highly polluting as it was discovered that during the normal washing in the washing machine it may release more than 2000 polyester and acrylic fibers that go straight in our seas. Although pile can also be created by recycled plastic it is very difficult to find these pieces as, to be used, plastic bottles must fulfill very strict requirements, leading to higher production costs.

No other way for me than turning towards vintage, as usual! However, the offer on the vintage market is still quite limited, especially for winter nightwear (dressing gowns and slip dresses or petticoats are definitely easier to find for our summer nights!). In Italy there are basically two shops who provide quality vintage nightwear: Humana Vintage and Attilio Vintage. Humana is one of my favorite places for vintage nightwear but they have limited stock of winter nightwear and it often sells out very quickly. A good alternative is Attilio Vintage, a great idea of Gloria, who decided to recover his grandpa Attilio sewn shop archive. The old “merceria Mussi” was founded in Parma in 1946 and the archive of deadstock pieces (not only nightwear but a wide range of clothing) goes from the 60s to the 90s. They are “continuously discovered” by Gloria who sells them online, in some selected vintage markets and now also in a wonderful new shop in Parma! On their website and offline it is still possible to find good original quality vintage nightwear absolutely new.

Fun fact: when I was writing this post I found on Instagram that Tiziana from Vintage Afropicks was selling great 70s deadstock pajamas and I couldn’t help getting one for myself!

This led me to two conclusions: i) probably there will be more vintage nightwear sold on the vintage market in the next future (I am optimist!); ii) one of the great things about vintage is that you are constantly searching for something that you have in mind until, sooner or later, it appears somewhere!

Anyway, if you know more shops/sellers who may sell vintage winter ngihtwear, please share them with me as I am still struggling to make winter vintage nightwear a great alternative to the cheap poor quality pieces that seem to be the only alternative on the market right now.

Anyway, if are wondering why I am using these pictures to discuss of vintage nightwear here are a few reasons:

  • No need to show you pictures of me in my nightgown!
  • I couldn’t imagine another set of pictures that could go with it!
  • I often use this lovely vintage shirt from French vintage seller Inside the Clouds to sleep
  • I wear turbans also when I sleep (I swear! I make turbans from silk vintage scarves to protect my curly hair)

Levi’s black jeans vintage, turban handmade by Madame Ilary, sandals Clarks.

The Ladybug adds vintage stripes to handmade Monstera leaves!

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Mixing colors and pattern, what an addiction! I am never tired of trying new mixes and to surprise myself with new color and pattern mixtures!

This is one of my hardest try of the year…a bit pushed I know, but I really loved how I put together this two beautiful pieces: handmade plant pattern culottes and a colored striped vintage shirt.

The linen culottes with Monstera leaves is one of my favorite pieces from Madame Ilary; I first saw the culottes on her and I asked to have a pair too with the lovely combined headscarf. They were so comfy and stylish that I wore them almost all summer. I say they “were” because, although they are still perfect on these pictures, there is a bad update about them: when I was in Senegal in November I got my hands washed with bleach before eating and I accidentally put my wet hands on my hips and…I destroyed my beautiful culottes! I was so sad but I couldn’t throw them away and I decided to keep them anyway even if they lost color in some parts.

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The vintage shirt has lovely soft colors, from beige to pale blue and pink and I found it at the new Humana Vintage shop in Milan the day of its first opening! (This one is still in good conditions!)

Gladiator sandals are from Clarks while golden hoop earrings are from Gogo Philip.

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The Ladybug on how to wear vintage at the beach

The Ladybug Chronicles Mexican Dress (3)

“What do you wear when you go to the beach?”

This was a question that I received on my Instagram account last summer during my Sicilian holidays. I found it funny at the beginning but then I decided to take a picture just on my way back from the beach to show you basically two things:

  1. I am super low profile when I go to the beach: I prefer free beach to private beach clubs, my favorite beach is just near my family house, I don’t wear fancy clothes or swimwear and definitely no make-up! (Here I have make-up because we were heading to an aperitivo right after the beach!!)
  2. When I go to the beach I wear exactly what I wear in my real life, like in this case, vintage and African wax prints!

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The dress that you are seeing here is a vintage handmade Mexican piece that I found at Humana Vintage in Milan: as I don’t usually wear sleeveless pieces I decided to use it as a long waistcoat over a white tee and a clear jeans but I decided to give it a chance as a dress and wore it for the beach. I love the details and embroideries of this dress and I love its color, I found it for a real bargain price and I couldn’t leave it there!

My big African wax printed bag is the perfect bag for long days at the beach: it is so big and comfy that you can put whatever you need inside and the print is just adorable. I found it from Clementine Vintage on her Instagram account, it is handcrafted and I am super happy that I finally found my perfect beach bag!

Comfy shoes are from Clarks and golden hoop earrings are from Gogo Philip.

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The Ladybug and another vintage Armani blazer!

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Not too long ago I was telling you about a great charity market where I was invited last year in December and where I found some great bargains. In particular, I was showing you my tartan Valentino skirt that I got for only 20 euros and that I totally love.

I also promised to show you more of my little bargains from that charity event, so here is another one: a vintage wool Armani jacket with a lovely shape that makes it perfect not only for work (as I am wearing it here) but also with denim and more casual outfits, depending on how you pair it and accessorize it!

This is my second vintage Armani blazer (the first one was from Opherty & Ciocci) and I find his vintage jackets amazing: the shape is so flattering and they look elegant without getting the “granny” feeling. When I saw this jacket hanging I started thinking about how to wear it, because it looked too old style for me but in the end, when I tried it, I realized that it was not the case at all!

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In this case, as I was wearing at work (another example of how to wear vintage at the office!) I added a red vintage shirt with peter pan collar that I bought at Humana Vintage and a vintage dragonfly brooch that I found on Ebay for a ridiculous price!

All the rest of the outfit is new, like my black culottes from Cos and my red ankle boots from Dixie. Golden earring are from Genny Pi in Milan.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug’s second stop of the virtual tour of Messina

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My second stop of the tour of my hometown Messina couldn’t be anywhere else than here: near the sea.

The pictures were taken at the Messina Fair building, just a few steps from my beautiful turquoise sea; such a shame that you couldn’t see it clearly as it was a cloudy day again but this is one of the most loved places in town, the place where everybody goes for a walk especially at night in summer to enjoy the fresh air and the scent of the sea. Now you see it empty but this is one of the most crowded areas of Messina, also because from here you can enjoy a great view on the Straight, on the other side of Italy and on the famous Statue of Mary built and dedicated to the town after the 1908 earthquake that destroyed the city.

I was walking there with my sister and we decided to take some pictures there even if the weather was not great…but I wore my turquoise wool vintage skirt from Humana Vintage that perfectly matched the sea!

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I got this little gem for 5 euros a few months ago and I am totally in love with it! I wore with a simple black jumper (from Benetton) and my new white ankle boots from Miss Selfridge at Asos. I’ve been struggling against my will to buy white ankle boots because I have always hated white shoes but when I found the perfect pair for a bargain price I just couldn’t resist! What do you think of white shoes trend lately? I must confess that even if I hate white shoes in general there are a couple of nice pieces that I definitely like. If I have to be honest the first pair that I saw where a bit too expensive for a pair of white boots that’s why I gave up until I saw those online! I mean, white boots are cool but spending too much money on them was not in my plans!

I added a polka-dot handmade turban from Madame Ilary (it’s my sister’s turban but I just got it for the shooting!) and handmade lovely cactus earring from Monica Pria. I told the story of these earrings on my social networks lately because they were a present of one of my best friends for Christmas. She told me that cactus represents strength and resilience and that’s what she wished me for the upcoming year…such a lovely present! All the jewelry created by Monica has “a purpose” that’s why I love it so much; I also went to see her during one of her markets to meet her and talk to her about her work (and to get a beautiful gratitude ring that I showed on Instagram some time ago!).

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The Ladybug and her life in rainbow colors!

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This year I got a total crush on 70s rainbow sweaters: I am a colorful girl and these colored striped sweaters got me completely! Still I had a couple of requirements that made my “perfect rainbow sweater” hunt quite complicated. I wanted it thin, with small stipes and with some specific colors: yellow, red, green, orange and blue…oh, and possibly vintage!

I surfed the net, my favorite Etsy vintage shops, Instagram, Vintag, Depop but nothing…I couldn’t find the one (except for a beautiful piece from Noirohio Vintage on Etsy that was immediately sold though!). Until that Sunday morning in London: I was scrolling down my Instagram feed while waiting for my friend to get ready for the vintage fair and I found the launch of Saturday, Megan Ellaby new clothing line and guess what? My perfect rainbow sweater was there!!! I didn’t think twice: I ordered it online and I received a couple of days later at home: it was perfect, exactly what I was looking for!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Rainbow Sweater (4)

I wore it immediately with a 70s inspired outfit as the rainbow sweater was a huge trend in that era, then I started to pair it with a rust vintage 70s coat that I found at Humana Vintage in Milan. I loved this piece at first sight and even if it was a little small I decided to get it anyway and to wear it open. I added a dark gray pair of Levi’s jeans and L’Arianna black ankle boots.

Golden hoops and blackamoor brooch are vintage (hoops from Depop and brooch from Déjà-vu Vintage), while the sculpture brass ring is from Metalica Creazioni.

By the way, I was on my way back from the book shop where I got two interesting books that I can suggest to you: Toni Morrison’s The Origin of Others and Dave Eggers’ The Monk of Mocha.

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The Ladybug’s best vintage find in Milan: the Après-Coup bistrot

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I still remember when a friend of mine sent me a link on my phone to a post from a Milanese blog announcing the opening of a new “vintage” bistrot in town called Après-coup in the Porta Romana area. It took me a while before I could finally go there for a Saturday lunch with my friends but calling this place just a vintage bistrot is very limiting.

Après-coup is a (delicious) restaurant and (innovative) cocktail bar, a theatre, an art gallery, a place where you can really enjoy the good things of life with your friends but also learn something and appreciate the wonderful vintage décor dating from the past century in a venue that feels more like a beautiful home than a restaurant or a bar. It has a very intimate twist that it is difficult to find anywhere else in Milan.

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Food and drinks are amazing and pricing is very fair. Incredibly welcoming and qualified staff, very friendly and helpful, it is already one of my favorite places in town!

I took a couple of pictures to show you the place, but its perfect position, the lovely space outside in front of the Teatro della Contraddizione makes it perfect for a dinner/cocktail/theatre night out!

For the Saturday lunch at Après-coup I wore a vintage polka dot top from Humana Vintage mixed with Dixie black culottes and Mango black leather jacket. I also mixed handmade (with a beautiful turban from Madame Ilary and brass earrings from Metalica), vintage (with the beautiful hooked bag from Vintage Studium that I found on Ebay after years of hunting for that specific type of bag!) and modern (with my new Vans white sneakers found in Tokyo last summer, with the French colors, just like my vintage top!).

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The Ladybug and the story of a Senegalese baobab

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In the last few years I developed a high attention to symbols. When I talk about symbols I mean objects and shapes that means something to me or that have a special power on my feelings and emotions.

One of the most powerful symbols in my life is the tree: it can connect me to the power of nature, it reminds me of the importance of having solid and robust roots, it makes me think of resilience and adaptability when I think of its foliage. I feel protected and solid at the same time when I think about this symbol, which may explain why I love its representation.

When I traveled to Senegal a few years ago my idea of the tree symbol stepped to a next level: it was the first time that I saw real baobabs and I felt something strong in front of these amazing trees. They represent this amazing country and I realized that their foliage creates a sort of open arms shape that I fell in love with (maybe it’s the representation of the famous teranga!).

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The Ladybug Chronicles Babobab brooch (4)

I decided that during one of my next trips to Africa I will get a baobab tattoo and that I needed this tree in my life (although the baobab seeds seller in Goré told me that it is pretty hard to plant them and make them live in Europe). As I cannot get a real one I decided to go for a brooch for now! When I saw this one from Erstwilder in their Africa collection, I bought it straight away.

I wear it very often, not only because I love it, but also because it has a very therapeutic effect on me especially when I am a bit sad or have low energy. It was the case when I took these pictures during a beautiful autumn day in Milan and I know that my face says it all. My friend Simona, when she was taking these pictures in Parco Sempione told me: “it is so hard to take pictures of you when you are feeling low” and she was right, my face looked different and my smile a bit forced but I could feel the power of my baobab!

It was a Friday afternoon, that’s why my outfit was pretty casual, still absolutely vintage!

My yellow 80s jacket and flower top is from Humana Vintage, jeans are from Mango and 90s inspired sneakers from Dixie. Golden loops are vintage too and I bought them on Depop.

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The Ladybug puts the roof on fire!

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There are places where I run when I need beauty (this is what I call beauty-therapy!). It used to be the seaside when I lived close to the sea, but in Milan I had to find new places. One of them is the rooftop of the beautiful building 10 Corso Como: I go up there to relax, to chill in the beauty of its design décor, while admiring the old Milanese houses contrasting the new skyline of Piazza Gae Aulenti. I also love taking pictures there, as in a few meters you have many different backdrops and background sets for your pictures! It is an infinite source of inspiration!

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This time I was wearing a 80s vintage dress that I found for a few euros at Humana Vintage in Milan years ago, paired with one of my favorite Madame Ilary turbans ever: a light purple softturban with a crystal decoration that I adore. I was skeptical at the beginning because I didn’t know really how to wear it but I found out that it is easier than I thought!

I added my Jeffrey Campbell mud caged ankle boots and a tiny handmade belt to better shape the waist.

Earrings are vintage while necklaces are from & Other Stories.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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