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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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 on how to wear a vintage hairnet every day

The hairnet is one of these accessories that screams vintage from everywhere!

What I mean is that it is an accessory that was consistently popular in the years prior to World War I, but their sales plummeted after the war when more women began to style their hair in a bob.

Since then its use became really rare and generally limited to those people who love to recreate a perfect repro of the 40s and 50s style. It is very hard to find them vintage and most of those that you can find nowadays are mostly handmade from vintage 40s fashion lovers who aim at recreating this amazing hairstyle, possibly with victory rolls!

But can we wear it outside of this context and make it a modern piece for our daily hairstyle?

The answer is yes!

And I think that it is sufficient to have a lovely 40s style worn with modern clothes, even a pair of jeans as one of the best options.

When I had my perfect hairnet vintage hairstyle done by the amazing Ketty (one of the best vintage make-up artists and hairstylist that I have ever met) during a special event at Madame Ilary showroom I decided to wear it with my vintage denims, Ouigal aqua ankle boots and an amazing handmade Victorian brocade coat from Madame Ilary.

I think that the total outfit was quite nicely balanced mixing old styles and modern pieces in a lovely way, don’t you agree?

Btw, my teal hairnet is not vintage unfortunately (I’ve never found a vintage one!) but it is a lovely reproduction that I found on Etsy longtime ago and that I still cherish a lot.

To be honest I was also thinking that once I will feel comfortable again with crocheting I could make some for me and for my friends, isn’t it a cool idea?

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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 meets the Queen of Vintage: Anna Piaggi by Karl Lagerfeld in Milan

When I heard about the opening of Anna-Chronique: 70s and 80s. Anna Piaggi by Karl Lagerfeld at the Fondazione Sozzani in Milan I immediately felt the call!

Anna Piaggi is one of my main icons for many reasons, one of them being the fact that she was the first one to my knowledge to mix designer modern pieces with vintage many decades ago. I also loved her strong personality and the way she showed it through her clothes.

Last year, the Fondazione Sozzani with the Associazione Culturale Anna Piaggi launched this exhibit dedicated to Anna Piaggi but in particular to her relationship with Karl Lagerfeld in a double exhibit: a selection of drawings signed by Karl Lagerfeld portraying his muse Anna Piaggi, realized between 1973 and 1984. Not only 130 portraits but also pictures, manuscripts, jewelry and of course hats from her personal collection…a real dream for vintage lovers!

The second exhibit is a fashion diary of the 90s: 50 Karl Lagerfeld drawings realized between 1990 and 1997 where the style and fashion sense of the iconic Anna Piaggi are represented at their best through the eyes of king Karl!

To visit this double exhibit that I adored I wore a tribute to Anna Piaggi tee, handpainted by Madame Ilary (it was the perfect occasion to wear it!), a vintage electric blue blazer found on Vinted by Freja Vintage, a pair of Rouje jeans. I added a lovely ethnic vintage bag from Bivio, small Fulani earrings from Dielle Nubya and a pair of old beige Supergas.

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The Ladybug’s Vintage and Handmade guide of Cagliari

I must confess that when I went to Cagliari to spend a couple of days with a friend who moved from Milan a few months before, I was surprised by the quality of vintage and handmade that I found in town. The city is very different from when I visited last time years ago: vibrant, joyful, modern and traditional at the same time, colored, full of life and warm as usual! I really enjoyed my stay and I spent two half days hanging around looking for the best vintage/handmade shops in town.

But let’s start from the vintage shops:

  • First stop was Recyclerie Vintage: I virtually met Alice and Fabrizio on Instagram a year before and unfortunately they were on holiday when I was in town but Caterina was there to guide me in the first vintage shop of Cagliari where I immediately fell in love for the attention of the research that covered different styles. Classic vintage and amazing accessories (including jewelry vintage and new) on the basement, vintage streetwear with a high quality selection of vintage denim and clothes for women and men on the first floor, a tattoo studio on the second floor. This shop is a must-visit for any vintage lover and if you are around you cannot miss it! I also got a few pieces there: the vintage military green floral dress that you see in one picture, a pair of vintage soft brown leather shorts and a ring from El Rana. Prices are fair and they are really adorable (you can find them in the main street of Cagliari, in the city center).
  • Second stop was Urban Pep, founded by the lovely Vanessa who I also met online last year. Vanessa really impressed me for the loveliness and kindness but also for bringing me around to discover some pieces of her city. But she also guided me through her shop, a perfect match of vintage handmade where she mixes her two passions: vintage and Thailand. Vanessa has Thai origins and she travels her other country looking for handcrafters who create beautiful pieces with a retro twist. Urban Pep is also full of interesting collaborations with local artists and associations such as La Fille Bertha (incredible Sardinian artist – I bought one of her pieces for my new house!) and La Matrioska a creative and social textile lab (I also bought one of their handmade tees!). Vanessa is a volcano of ideas and her shop really expresses her eclecticism. Not far from Recyclerie Vintage in the main street, make sure that you visit her shop and you meet her in person!
  • Third stop was La Bottega delle Meraviglie, but I was so pissed because it was closed and I couldn’t manage to contact the owner. From her Instagram page I realized that it was the kind of shop that I would have loved but maybe I will be able to visit it next time! It is in the tiny streets of the city center, definitely worth a visit.
  • Not a shop but a vintage and antiques market that I found “by mistake” on a Sunday Morning, is the Antiques Market of Piazza del Carmine, a small but super interesting market where I found a lot of interesting pieces (especially jewelry…I left with three fantastic brooches!): mandatory stop, you will love it I promise!

Just want to share some more interesting shops that are definitely worth a visit if you love ethical, handmade and traditional shops:

  • Recyclerie has another shop in the city center (actually it was the first shop before the vintage one was born), totally dedicated to handmade pieces (homeware, accessories, jewelry etc.) coming mostly from Sardinian artists and handcrafters
  • Eticando is a lovely boutique in the center of Cagliari that only sells ethically made clothes for women and children; not the usual ethical shop, that’s why I liked it
  • The AB Gallery is a place where I could have bought almost everything for my house: pillows, blankets, carpets, decorations etc. Everything is handmade from Sardinian artisans keeping alive the rich textile tradition of the region. A true beauty.

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