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

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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 on the joy of knitting

When I was a kid we used to spend part of our summer holidays at the countryside, at my mum’s home village. I particularly loved those weeks spent in the nature for many reasons: I could spend a lot of time in the country with my dad eating fruits from the trees or drinking pure water from a lemon leaf; I could pick fruits, play with dogs and cats, ride my bike, wear my granny’s clothes and…learn a lot works. I used to spend a couple of hours per day with an old lady of the village who thought me to crochet, to embroider, to tat and my granny also thought me how to knit (she was so good that sometimes when we had no needles she did it with my colored pencils!).

When I grew older I slowly stopped loving my holidays at the countryside as I preferred to spend time at the beach with my friends and with time I lost all of the good things that I learned in the village.

I feel so bad if I think about it now: you cannot imagine how much I wanted to restart at least crocheting and knitting but I thought that it was too late and I was too old to get back at it. Well, I was wrong.

During a very intense moment at work, I understood that I needed some side activity to relax. Knitting was the first idea that came to my mind: I desperately looked for knitting classes in Milan but I couldn’t find what I was looking for, until I saw an ad on Instagram. It was from We are knitters. They promised to make you learn with their tutorials and that you could start from beginners’ pieces to practice your skills. I wasn’t convinced that it could be that easy! I asked them if I really could start from scratch, telling them that I have never knitted in my life. They answered: Sure, no problem!

It’s only when I had an impartial review from a friend of mine that I decided to give it a try: not only it was true but I loved it!! I spent all my afternoons watching tutorials and quickly learning the basic stitches and in a couple of weeks I finished my first paired cinnamon snood and headband (those that I am wearing in these pictures). I then made another headband for my mum and a maxi mustard scarf. Now I want to start also crocheting!

The benefits are multiple: not only I can make myself clothes (which I find extremely sustainable and satisfying!) and make them for the people I love, I can also relax and leave all my problems and stress outside when I start knitting. The fact is that you must be so focused that you automatically stop thinking of other business. Isn’t it amazing? You also have the gratifying feeling of learning something and of creating a piece from your own hands, which is really amazing!

While I keep practicing my knitting skills and starting my crocheting ones, let me show you how I paired my creations for a Sunday at the vintage market with my friends: a wonderful navy vintage coat from Je m’en fous vintage, a pair of old Zara brown trousers, a pair of vintage cowboy boots from the French brand Sartore found on Vestiaire Collective, a vintage cross-body bag from Live in Vintage and my vintage and handmade rings!

As a detail for my snood, I added a beautiful handmade butterfly brooch, a present from Giorgia, owner of Je m’en fous vintage, created from vintage Japanese fabrics. Isn’t too cute on the snood?

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The Ladybug on what she found out on color aversion

This is one of the very rare days when I wear total black in one of my outfits! For those who know me this is totally unusual and I find really fun that they always add this phrase after the first shock: “it suits you though!”.

The funny thing about that is that I know that black suits me on an esthetical point of view; it totally unsuits me from a psychological one. I cannot say that I have an aversion to it but I usually do not choose black pieces when it comes to my clothing. I may have a couple of pieces but most of the time they are paired with strong colors, just to soften the black effect.

But why does it happen that we have aversion to some colors although we recognize that they look good on us (especially when it comes to clothes)? During a conversation on Instagram regarding this topic, I asked the intervention of Chiara Salomone, fashion psychologist, founder of Moda e Psiche, who gave me the most clarifying answer ever: we often have aversion to some colors because we associate them to something that we don’t want to express. Boom! That was a great intuition!

I then realized (well, I knew but I wasn’t aware of the connection with my aversion to black clothes) that I have always associated black clothes with boring people without huge personality. This is not necessarily true but it was my mental association. Just to give you an example: the other day I was looking at one picture from a wedding in Italy and I was completely annoyed by the fact that ALL the women in the picture (around 15) were dressed in total black. I disliked all of their outfits just because of the color choice and I associated this with their lack of originality and strong personality. I know that in Italy it is quite common to wear black for a wedding but you know what? I have never done it!

No need to say that, although I find every single piece of this outfit great, this is not one of my favorite ones! I just don’t see too much of myself in it.

However, it is almost completely vintage for example (the soft sequined sweater comes from Inimitable Vintage, the leather skirt from Humana Vintage, the lovely bag from Live In Vintage – the only colored piece! – while the shoes are old pair of Carmens ankle boots) and every single piece was carefully picked during my online or physical vintage shopping sessions. I was in Sicily and happy to be in my hometown enjoying a sunny warm day in December but still…it was not completely me!

Can you relate? Do you have an aversion to a specific color? Just let me know!

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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 on how to create an outfit from Vinted

I have to be honest, I had several different approaches to Vinted in the last two years.

When I heard of it on French websites or from Instagram French vintage lovers I couldn’t wait to have it finally also in Italy. When Vinted launched in Italy I was the happiest gal but after a few weeks of using it I was shocked about the amount of garbage and fake vintage that people were selling there. I am still sick about that sometimes but I can say that my relationship with Vinted is finally restored!

I sell a lot from my private wardrobe and I also buy very good (original) vintage and second hand at affordable and at times bargain prices so in the end I am happy enough with it.

I also realized that almost 30% of what I buy lately comes from Vinted and that I found there incredible pieces in great conditions for excellent prices. Let me give you an example.

The outfit that I am wearing here is 90% from Vinted (except for the bag, a vintage find from Live In Vintage in Milan):

  • The second hand Ash sneakers were my very first buy on Vinted: I was lucky enough to find a super nice seller who helped me a lot and she closed a long hunt for a pair of used Ash sneakers started on Depop months before;
  • The vintage 80s camel leather trousers come from a French closet and I bought them for around 20 euros in a period of my life when I lost enough weight to wear 80s high-waisted leather pants (my favorite ones!)
  • The maxi mustard wool sweater from Sézane (one of my favorite brands before I stopped buying from them, even second hand, after the huge scandal in Mexico) is one of my (former) best discoveries on Vinted: a lot of people sell Sézane pieces still with tags and almost 30% off the original price: it was the case of this lovely piece open on the back.

What can we learn from this? Basically that you can find anything on Vinted: whatever is your style you can easily find what you looking for and for real bargain prices. All you need is time, patience and no hurry to buy until your perfect piece will magically appear.

(These rules are applicable almost every time and everywhere you decide to buy).

Women pant

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The Ladybug’s favorite color and sweater (Purple Rain, anyone?)

Since I was a kid purple was my favorite color: I was a Fiorentina soccer team supporter because of the color of their shirt, I wanted everything purple, when Prince issued Purple Rain it became my favorite song for the rest of my life. A part from yellow, in the last 40 years, no other color could attract me more than purple.

Recently I added different shades to my personal palette: mauve, marsala, wine for example. This sweater is an example of another shades that is also part of my new palette even if I don’t know how to call it (magenta maybe?) and I am not sure this is in my season colors (who cares actually?).

It comes from Sézane: you know that I stopped buying from them after the “Mexican affair” but I have a few knits from this brand and I want to keep wearing them exactly how I do with other brands from which I don’t buy anymore (for example fast fashion brands). However, I keep loving it very much and not only for its color. It’s warm, fluffy and has a retro 80s vibe that I adore.

This is also the reason why I decided to pair it with original 80s leather trousers found on Vinted and I think that they are super cute together!

When I posted this look on Instagram I also discussed about the unflattering shape of the 80s trousers, especially if you are not really considered a tall person (laughs!). It’s maybe true but as for colors my answer is still the same: who cares? As much as I feel comfortable and confident with what I wear I don’t want to stress myself and my own body into the “unflattering thing”. Who’s with me on that?

Still not sure about the shoes (cowboy ankle boots from Carmens) as I am not convinced that they are fitting the outfit but as I was on holiday and I use to travel light I didn’t have better options for it! Always do with what you have, right?

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