The Ladybug and the long hunt for a vintage smoking jacket

A few years ago I decided that I wanted a vintage man smoking jacket: I couldn’t stop thinking of the many outfits that I could create with it, even easy ones, and I believe that this is a collector piece that would stay forever in the wardrobe.

I started then a long hunt for my perfect smoking jacket knowing that they are very hard to find mostly for two reasons:  1. As I said last time I’m not really a fan of oversize jackets then I would have needed to find a small men size (very rare!); 2. Not many sellers deal with this type of jackets as they are not easy to sell.

As many of my vintage hunts it lasted a few years and it ended with the help of Ilaria from Madame Ilary who found this perfect olive green piece for me: it’s just amazing! The shape, the color, the size, I think it was really made for me! The long wait for the perfect piece was over but I can say that this piece was really worth the wait!

This is a very important lesson for those who want to buy vintage and want to do it sustainably: don’t rush on the first piece you find thinking that you cannot find better. You’ll always will. Trust vintage and you’ll see that the perfect piece for you is just around the corner. Maybe it could take some time (sometimes even years) but don’t be in the rush, it will appear sooner or later!

I immediately wore my new vintage smoking jacket with a simple black organic cotton shirt, a pair of vintage Levi’s jeans  and a pair of aqua ankle boots from Ouigal.

Last important touch: a vintage hairdo realized by the amazing Kitty Vintage Style and a precious comb created by Madame Ilary.

What do you think of my first outfit with this fantastic piece? Easy peasy!

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The Ladybug on the Oversize way of living!

Oversize clothing is often a trend: oversize pants, oversize jackets, oversize tees we have had them all as a trend in the last years and they keep coming back every now and then. But be careful: oversize is not just a trend and we can’t make it ours if we don’t really feel it!

In the last couple of years for example vintage oversize jackets had a huge comeback in the vintage shops; men blazers in particular were everywhere in shops and in town! I really love a man jacket on a woman but hey…that’s not for me! It’s just not my style!

The result is that if I see it on a girl in the street I think it’s cool but when I wear it I feel it’s not me at all.

You want to know why? It’s easy: oversize is a way of living, not just a trend. Many people love this style and I think it suits them perfectly, because it’s theirs, they can really feel it! This is applicable for every style I guess and it is important to acknowledge that, especially when we buy by trends because if it’s not ours we won’t wear it! If we won’t wear it we wasted money and we acted unsustainably.

Nevertheless, with my Sicilian mate Leli Green Closet I decided to give it a try: she offered me this beautiful gray vintage men blazer and I decided to style it my way. With a sweater from Madame Ilary, a pair a jeans from Rouje and two incredible pieces that I found on Vinted last year: a vintage Celine shoulder bag and a pair of Texan boots from Roberto Cavalli. Indian earrings are vintage from my mum.

I must confess that I felt quite comfy and at ease with this jacket even if I have never worn one before. It was a test and it worked. I keep using it and I also tried this style at work with a floral dress. It works.

Still it is and will be probably the only oversize jacket in my wardrobe.

How do you feel about them? Is that your style or you don’t wear them? Or maybe you just follow the trend…let me know, I’m curious to hear about that!

Photo credit: Marco Di Terlizzi

Find women dresses here

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The Ladybug on vintage pride and prejudice

It has been almost 30 years that I buy vintage and I start having a sort of attitude like: “I know what it’s good for me so leave me alone when I do my vintage shopping”. This is not a very good attitude for a vintage shopper: the fact that we have clear vision on what we like and what we are looking for dors not mean that we can underestimate the surprising power of vintage!

I am wearing here the vintage suede jacket that started my thoughts and considerations on how vintage can still surprise me, as well as the eye of a vintage seller who convinced me to try it even if I did not want to (“It’s not my style” – I said – “I don’t like the color either!”). The good part of it is that the vintage seller was Tiziana from Vintage Afropicks and I have such a consideration and estimation of her work that I always give it a try when I see that she is insisting on something!

And I must confess that she was totally right: not only this jacket was amazing and fitted perfectly but I also loved the style and eventually thought that the color was great on me!! Unbelievable!!

When I left the shop I thought that I should never say no to a vintage try, even if I’m not convinced at first, because I’ve got my best pieces exactly like that, when I didn’t expect them!

For this shooting during a warm end of October day in Milan I wore this beautiful jacket from Vintage Afrocpicks with a handmade green pussycat bow shirt from Madame Ilary and my favorite black trousers from Rouje.

The bag is an old L’Autre Chose piece found during a sample sale, the shoes are vintage from Damsels in Distress. Ginkgo earrings are handmade from the amazing Made in Camper.

You can find women cheap shoes here

The Ladybug can hear the “African Voices”

One of the most vibrant and interesting exhibits that I have attended this year is African Voices hosted by one of my favorite art galleries in town, Officine dell’Immagine.

The exhibition was entirely dedicated to the complex and multifaceted African artistic panorama: Safaa Erruas (Morocco), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), my beloved Maïmouna Guerresi (Italy-Senegal) and Kyle Weeks (Namibia) pieces are showcased with their different yet dynamic views of the African continent. Each one of them with their characteristic form of art and thinking. Not only different views but also different languages adopted by the artists involved, whose works can range from videos to installations, from photography to sculpture. All these pieces were exhibited in Milan for the first time.

No need to say that I enjoyed it very much and I loved spending time in analyzing and interpreting the views of these incredible artists.

Officine dell’Immagine is not new to this type of event: I suggest that you follow them to keep informed on the new exhibits as personally I loved each and every one of them.

You can find some of my favorite pieces here and a special sustainable outfit for the event:

  • Second hand short-sleeved jumper from Sézane on Vinted
  • Vintage leather skirt from Vintage Como
  • Vintage 80s boots from London Corner
  • Second hand man blue shirt
  • Vintage bag from Humana Vintage
  • Vintage Mila Schon headscarf from Archetipo
  • Handamde earrings from Metalica

Can’t wait for the next Officine dell’Immagine event (also I love the fact that every time we go we are always alone and can enjoy the whole gallery only for us!!)

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The Ladybug tells the fascinating story of Aran textiles

If you love vintage, especially vintage sweaters, you need to read this post as I’m going to tell you something more about the fascinating story of Aran sweaters (a piece that is a must have in our wardrobe!).

Aran sweaters (or cardigans) get their name from the Aran islands off the west coast of Ireland, islands of fishermen and farmers, known all over the world for their precious textiles. Their weaves tells stories: stories of the families who gave them birth or have them as a social code, they often contains codes to be read and they are handed down from one generation to another. Many of their stitches are reflective of Celtic Art.

From their origins Aran sweaters are strictly linked to clans and their identities: the different stitch combinations can transmit a lot of information to those who can interpret them; they were a reflection of the lives of the knitters and their families and they stay within the same clan for generations.

Can you imagine that in the past the weaves were used to identify the fishermen washed up on the beach? Today an official register of Aran weaves exists and it is possible to refer to it in the Aran Sweater Market on the Aran islands.

The yarn is very heavy and robust, perfect for warming the body especially in the sea because it is also water repellent as it absorbs more than 30% of water before getting wet. The natural wool fiber is breathable and helps maintaining the body at its ideal temperature, protecting from excessive cold or heat.

Even if nowadays it is quite easy to find good quality Aran wool sweaters produced with modern machines, it is quite difficult to find handmade ones new. The good news is that you can still find handmade original traditional Aran cardigans and sweaters in the vintage stores and markets. I often found them in UK and in Ireland (where my vintage cardigan comes from – a garage sale in Dublin…even if I had to change the original buttons, which was such a shame!) and the second positive thing is that, being quite resistant, they don’t fear time passing: most of them was in excellent conditions!

I am wearing mine here with a thrifted (but new) Realisation Par animal print silk skirt, an organic cotton tee and a pair of old Carmens ankle cowboy boots. The bag is vintage from Live In Vintage in Milan.

Do you own an original Aran piece?

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The Ladybug’s sustainable flowers are BLOOMing!

When we talk about sustainable fashion – in Italy but not only – we can’t not mention Gaia Segattini, definitely one of the Italian pioneers for everything knitwear sustainably created.

But this is only one of the reasons why I love her brand so much and I am thinking of enlarging my personal Gaia Segattini Knotwear collection! I will try to give you a list of things that I love about her (as a person, for as much as I can see from Internet) and as a brand:

  • Sustainability of a brand is not only a matter of fabrics: Gaia Segattini creates her wool and cotton pieces with recycled yarns from other companies’ scraps. Don’t think of scrap as a bad quality yarn: most of times companies don’t use all the ordered materials and for this reason they sell what they don’t need for their production. Additionally, she owns a factory where people are correctly treated and she doesn’t produce more than what customers will buy; mainly the colors of her standard pieces depend on the availability of the yarns and she uses monthly drops with the produced pieces instead of permanent collections to reduce waste.
  • The wool: I can’t get enough of a brand that produces mostly 100% wool pieces…it means that I don’t necessarily have to look for vintage pieces when I need a quality sweater made with natural fibers!
  • Colors and shapes are always super fun and adaptable to different people’s styles: every type of woman (no matter the age, the style, the fashion preferences) can use and adapt a Gaia Segattini’s piece to her personal style. This is very rare for a brand!
  • I just said women but she has a variety of pieces that are totally unisex and can be shared with other members of the family!
  • She is super fun (as her pieces!): her colored world and warm smile are irresistible!

The sweater that I am wearing here is from her famous Bloom Collection (it took different months to find it during one of her drops…no need to say that they sell out super quickly right? But hey this is slow fashion!) and this was the first piece that I purchased from her. I love it because of the wool flowers on the shoulders and because you don’t need much more to feel “dressed”: I wore it with a simple Rouje jeans, a pair of Carmens cowboy boots and a vintage cross-body bag from Live In Vintage in Milan and it just made my style bloom!

Next purchase for winter: a Friend sweater (striped or simple, I don’t know yet!). What’s yours?

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The Ladybug takes on the Balaclava in April – but is there really a season to talk about it?

How come that we talk about balaclavas in April?

Well, considering that it was freaking cold again until a few days ago even if we are in spring, this could be a good reason but the real question is: how can we not talk about it, whatever the season is, as it has been for a while one of the most trendy accessories in the streets and on the catwalks?

You know that I am not a trendy one: personally I love it as it is the perfect solution for my cervical pains and it often saves my life in winter in Milan, but I find its story very interesting not to tell it (even if not the happiest one).

This accessory is “invented” and used for the first time by the English troops in the battle of Balaclava in Crimea, during the homonymous war in 1854 to protect from the icy cold of the region.

Virgil Abloh was one of the firsts to promote its come back on the catwalks and in the street style a few seasons ago and since then it has become THE accessory.

Last winter we saw every brand proposing their own version (or copying someone’s else version!) from fashion big names to high street fashion.

Personally I went for an handmade version from Le Nereidi (they called it Balalupo), in this beautiful marsala shade that was perfectly matching the blossoms of Parco Ravizza in Milan. I matched it with a total vintage outfit: 1) amazing navy vintage coat from Je m’en fous vintage; 2) adorable 80s tan boots from London Corner vintage; 3) lovely tan vintage bag from Live in Vintage; 4) super cute colored vintage brooch from a lovely seller’s granny at Remira Market in Milan.

I am so in love with this outfit, do you also like it as I do?

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug can get married or go to the grocery store with almost the same outfit!

Question of the day: are there clothes made only for certain occasions? We often call them with the name of the right occasion to wear them: bridal dress, cocktail dress, prom dress etc. but shall we really stick to these labels?

I personally don’t think so: I am the queen of mix and match, wear it as you feel it, and I love playing with fashion along with my mood and I want to have fun when I get dressed; I also want to respect my personality and I feel really sad when I am given a dress code or a suitable event for what I am wearing.

For this reason I often buy pieces that can easily be worn in different occasions and accessorized in different ways, dressed up or dressed down, depending on your mood, on how you feel or what you want to express.

The Sartorial Vintage Jacket (an amazing upcycled piece created by Madame Ilary with Le Fie Studio starting from vintage blazers) is a great example of what I mean. One day I saw this wonderful white piece at Madame Ilary showroom: a very rare vintage white smoking blazer with fantastic silk puff sleeves and flower. I immediately said “I could get married with it!”.  And I definitely would. But at that exact moment I didn’t have to get married and I just needed to go to the grocery store for my weekly food shopping, and I wore it like that: with a pair of grey vintage Levi’s, an handmade viscose pussybow shirt from Madame Ilary (as well as the lurex turban) and a pair of second hand Ash sneakers.

Basically I realized that with the same jacket I could get married (with a white silk slip dress for example!) or go to the grocery store with the exact outfit that I was wearing that day!

Isn’t it amazing?

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The Ladybug in a “wax winterland”

Wax in winter looks impossible? Not at all! Wearing our wax prints only during summer days is a huge limitation to this fabric that can be worn every season of the year!

Maybe because I cannot give up colors and flashy patterns, but I cannot imagine living 6 months a year without wax prints!!

Wanna try? It is sufficient to correctly layer and it and it will give you light, joy and happiness all year long! Of course if the day is around 0 degrees you can wait for a better temperature to give it a try!

I just want to share one of my favorite examples here (it was November and the temperature was around 10 degrees!): I remember that at the time I had just received this adorable trench handmade in Togo from Bazar Pagne (after winning one of their giveaways!). I love it so much that I couldn’t wait two more seasons to wear it so I decided to include it in an outfit for a brunch out with friends.

I wore it with a vintage 80s rust and golden sweater from Mister Libra in Milan, with two more layers: an organic cotton tee and a cotton/wool vest to keep me warm.

I added very old Zara corduroy rust culottes and two 80s vintage pieces in a lovely caramel tone: a vintage maxi bag from Lullaby Vintage in Barcelona and a pair of amazing boots from London Corner Vintage.

By the way, let me add another tip here: when it comes to the choice of colors to pair with wax prints I strongly recommend to dare other colors than black or white. You will be surprised of the interesting alternatives that you may find. I also suggest to choose a color that you feel interesting when matching the main color of the wax print, in this case I love the rust with the dark yellow of the trench.

Btw, for this same reason I added golden maxi hoop earrings from Gogo Philip!

How do you feel about this one?

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The Ladybug, a Rolls Royce and some mustard sauce

Strange title there, isn’t it?

Well let’s try to analyse it: why a Rolls Royce? Rolls Royce is the English name for one of the most famous wax patterns, the hibiscus one, also known in French as Fleurs de Mariage (wedding flowers). Even if the names are completely different the meaning of this “pagne” is exactly the same: it represents happiness within a couple and it is known for being considered as a good luck gift, bringing success and abundance to those who wear it (possibly the reason why it is called Rolls Royce!). It is a very popular pattern but also a traditional one, for this reason I truly believe that every real wax lover should have at least one piece in Fleurs de Mariage! I have to say that I have more than one, even in different colours, but this classical red/white pattern is definitely the one that I prefer. For this reason I asked Magali from Atelier Habibi to create one of her lovely Mahotella skirts in this pattern for me; and I wear it all the time (even in winter although these pictures are taken in Cagliari last September) and it is one of my “wax it-pieces”

And why mustard sauce? Mustard is the exact color of this adorable vintage shirt coming from a deadstock that I found on Vinted some time ago: peter pan collar, lovely embroidery on the front and fantastic puff sleeves: how could I resist?

Mixing vintage and handmade wax pieces is my favorite activity but I added a couple of very special pieces here that made the whole package super fun:

  • First of all this handmade canvas bag with a very interesting quote in Sardinian language (it translates with something like F*ck plastic!) that I found at Recyclerie in Cagliari and that made laugh everyone in town (they all asked if I knew what it meant!!)
  • My favorite clogs from Lotta from Stockholm (love this brand when it comes to clogs!)

Less fun but still beautiful my cross-body Cartier vintage bag from Grey Vintage Shop.

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