Fashion At The Wednesbury Museum And Art Gallery

It’s always lovely when a fashion exhibition pops up virtually on your doorstep. The Hodson Shop collection was one such delight, and this summer I have found a small fashion exhibition in the town of my youth, Wednesbury, at the town’s beautiful museum and art gallery.

The exhibition is called ‘Clothes!’ and is taking place in the museums Nostalgia Rooms. It features a range of pieces from the 1959s, 1960s and 70s, along with memorabilia and old photographs of West Bromwich, Wednesbury and the surrounding areas from the same era.

I love the clothes that are featured, these pieces are not couture or designer pieces, but are instead the sort of clothes that your mother or grandmother might have owned and worn, really pieces of social history displayed within a context. I loved the purple maxi dress with long sleeves and high neck, my mom was a bridesmaid in 1973 and wore something very similar, and a dress of a similar colour that came from the 1950s, but would still look good today due to the classic style.

The 1960s explosion of fashion is well represented, with lots of printed and plain shift dresses in the style of Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin. And, just to prove that fashion is cyclical, and that styles do come around again and again, the exhibition has a maxi style dress and a tea dress that may be 1970s in origin, but certainly wouldn’t look out of place on today’s High Street.

The Clothes! exhibition is in the Nostalgia Rooms at the Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery until the end of 2017. Entrance is free, and you could also check out the permanent toy exhibition and the beautiful Ruskin pottery whilst you are there,

Click here for more information.

#FanDayFriday (on a Monday!) Vintage Dresses

My #FanDayFriday post is a few days late. It was my wedding anniversary on the 6th and my hubby took me away for a lovely long weekend in Lincoln, so today I am catching up, and I’m actually taking inspiration from one of the things that made my weekend so perfect – shopping for vintage dresses.

I have a real love for vintage clothes, and trying to find lovely pieces from the past is something I really enjoy. I don’t have a particular decade that I prefer, I look at the individual piece rather than bothering with the time frame, but I do have quite a few 1970s dresses, and I added to my collection with two new ones this weekend, picked up from the fabulous St Barnabas hospice shops that have amazing vintage sections complete with selfie booths.

The first dress was a St Michael label M&S dress in the prettiest yellow shade. The condition was very good, although I think it would originally have included a tie belt. I am going to add a thin animal print belt which I think will contrast nicely with the yellow shade. For £5.99 it was an absolute bargain.

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The second dress was a Shubette of London 1970s design that I loved for its mixed prints. Shubette was founded in 1913 and is a much sort after label. I love that this dress would work well for Summer or Autumn, the fabric is thicker and stiffer than a normal sundress and so would look great with heels and a jacket. Another great find for £8, and I got a string of jet beads to perfectly match it.

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I’d actually packed another vintage dress in my suitcase, and I wore this for a touch of sightseeing. This one cost the princely sum of £2 from a Salvation Army shop and I love it, 1960s era with a simple dotted print and quite simply the only thing you could wear to shoot a storm trooper.

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Of course, charity shops aren’t the only places you can find vintage, and for really special pieces it is worth looking in dedicated vintage shops. Ego Clothing in Lincoln stocks a range of reproduction pieces and authentic vintage from all eras, including labels like Hatty Carnegie, Pierre Cardin and Berketex.

I totally fell in love with a brocade evening dress from the late 1950s/early 1960s and decided it would be perfect for my anniversary dinner. It had no size label, but there was a changing room and I tried it on twice before deciding it was for me. I’m so glad I did!

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This week I am linking up with the fabulous Amanda and Bryan from Forever Blessed. You can read their #FanDayFriday post here.

Jackie the Musical thrills audiences at the New Alexandra Theatre

As a child of the 1980s, Saturday meant just one thing, getting my latest copy of Jackie. The magazine that taught a generation everything it needed to know about fashion, beauty and, most importantly love, was literally my Bible as I made the trip towards adolescence. Sadly Jackie is no longer with us, it belonged to a more innocent time, with the last issue leaving the press in 1993. But now its spirit, and sometimes hilarious advice is back with us in the form of a brilliantly realised musical, complete with a musical soundtrack that captures the fun of the days of pinups and Cathy and Clare perfectly. I went along to opening night at the New Alexandra Theatre last night, and have to say that I totally loved it!

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Jackie, a fifty-something, soon to be divorcee, is packing up her belongings and moving house.  During the move, she discovers her collection of Jackie magazines from the 1970s, and soon finds herself being haunted by her younger self,  still filled with hope and optimism for her future. With her ex husband John now engaged to a 30 something, Jackie, with the help of her sassy friend Jill, her own younger self, and her Jackie magazines decides that she will find new love. But the course of love doesn’t necessarily run according to the plan of agony aunts Cathy and Clare, and Jackie is led on a trip of discovery that suggests that maybe you need to love yourself before you will be happy in love. A trip that is sound tracked with the best of TRex, David Essex, Mud, Barbara Streisand and Donny Osmond.

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Janet Dibley is just brilliant as Jackie, you literally never stop routing for her character, with lines that are delivered with real humour and make her so real. She is supported by Nicholas Bailey and Graham Bickley as Max and John,  the two men in her life, both bringing personality to the roles that means that even though the characters infuriate you, you can’t help but like them too. I was also really impressed with Michael Hamway as Jackie’s teen son and wannabe rock star David, and Daisy Steere, who plays the young Jackie. Both play their role with bags of charm and an exuberance that is just infectious.

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Janet Dibley as Jackie & Daisy Steere as Young Jackie_Jackie the Musical_Pamela Raith Photography

The songs are another star of the show, with ‘Enough is Enough’ and a truly surreal and hilarious Puppy Love performed by Bob Harms (the side splitting Frankie – a total scene stealer) being amongst the standouts. Add these 70s standards to the fabulous costumes from the decade that style apparently forget (although I beg to differ on this point) and you have a show that is a total crowd pleaser, delighting an audience who are just waiting to jump to their feet at the finale.

Jackie the Musical is a total delight, one which I would happily watch again tonight. Grab your flares and tank top and go lose yourself in the decade of disco, kipper ties and Party six.

Jackie the Musical runs until Saturday 28th May. Click here for ticket information and show times.