Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Truly Leather Dress Flashback; Forgotten and Finnish

Bonus Thursday post! I had a haircut at 10am, and I have a new hairdresser, so I wanted to make a good impression. 
Kelsey was agog over this dress. Yes, it is leather! I've had it for ages, so we'll have a wee peek back in the Flashback below. 

  • Shirt - Lansea for Pant-Man, vintage 70s, thrifted; last worn here in March 2020 in a very silly post about a disco genie
  • Dress - Truly for Part Two; last seen here (2nd outfit) in December 2019
  • Boots - Aldo, consignment; last worn here in my first outfit of the year, in January
  • Coat (below) - Danier Leather, consignment; last seen here in January

We had a nice chat - I was nervous so I babbled.
Kelsey and I bonded over fashion and I gave her a blog card - hello!

I like layering a shirt, sweater or blouse under this dress. 
This shirt is a double-knit vintage nylon paisley. No breathing in that fabric! 
My tights were cabled but look striped here, bizarrely. 

Masked up. 
Today was chilly and windy - we've had sun, hail, rain and WIND! Did I mention wind? 

Outerwear: this calls for my Danier + Thinsulate coat. 
After my haircut, I planned on stopping in at Verve consignment and Duchess & Duke consignment, which are in the neighbourhood. I like a small jacket for shopping. 
Warm furry scarf, and thin gloves (the pockets on the coat are nice and warm).

Outerwear stuff: 
The colours of the leopard mask worked well. 

  • Mask - by Mom
  • Fur scarf - thrifted
  • Gloves - Danier Leather

The stuff: 
Good shoes for walking. I hoped I wouldn't have to undo them to try anything on! The laces are unwieldy (they are tucked away from Vizzini here). 

Bold bling: 
Things that don't get in the way. 

  • Belt - Pringle of Scotland, vintage fair; last worn here
  • Silver/onyx ring - Toccara, vintage fair
  • Silver/crystal ring - Soul Flower
  • Earrings - Glee, local

Thanks for the cut, Kelsey! While we were discussing second-hand shops, she asked me about Vintage After Death - link here 'cause I love. I haven't been in there in well over a year, truthfully, and I had actually forgotten all about it. I find it's very curated vintage, so a bit on the pricey side. 
However, since Verve and Duchess & Duke were both closed when I went by, I decided to stop in. You can catch a glimpse of my purchase behind me! 

Mom and I had our weekly Zoom chat today. She indulged in some retail therapy and had a fashion show off all her new purchases, including this striped sweater/tunic. 
She's nicely accessorized too (and had two other alternative necklaces to show me her options). Gee, I wonder where I get it from!? 

While we were chatting, Vizzini was eyeing this new skirt that I found. 
Yes, it is a ginormous vintage 70s fringed maxi skirt! The fringed hem is sewn on, not raveled edges. It needs a small trim to clean it up a bit.

That's the back - it zips up. I love the high waistband. 
It was hung up sideways, maybe thinking that the zip should be on the side, but the inner fabric hanging loops told me it went this way.

Vintage After Death puts cute little blurbs on their clothes - ideas for what to wear, or what the garment reminds them of. Pumpkin Patch Witch is a title I aspire to! Marked down to $28.00, she had to be mine. Look at that amazing woven texture. It's primarily chocolate brown and burnt orange boucle wool, with a thread of bright yellow. 
I actually saw tons of stuff that I drooled over in the store - I tried on six things. Ann, Vix, my fellow vintage lovers, this place would destroy your bank accounts! But everything is so pricey. $55.00 is too high for me, but I'll do half that. 

I've never heard of this brand before, but I could tell that the fabric is probably hand-spun and/or hand-loomed. It's fully lined, probably with acetate (hence the "Dry Cleaning" tag). 
Arola, made in Finland. All wool. Design Pirkko M'a'ki. I have Finnish jewelry (this ring here by Pentti Sarpaneva), but this is my first Finnish garment. 

Let's see what we can find on the interwebs...
And...not much! Pirkko Maki was the daughter of Pirkko Arola who founded the company Arola Kutomo in the 1940s - there's no source for that, just the same phrase over and over. Not a lot of results, either. I still feel good about calling this a 1970s skirt - the colours scream 70s, as does the style. 


Edited to add from reader Maria: 

What I could found (in Finnish) about Arola: it was founded 1948. First wool products were fabrics, scarfs and ties. Starting 1955, they invested new machinery and started to make twinsets(?). From 1960, they started to export the items outside Finland. They had 300 employees at highest. Unfortunately, 1990's depression affected to them also and they did bankruptcy. They were trying to continue with name "Arola Design Oy" but it also banckupted 2012.In google search, if you try "arola skirt" or "arola villahame", you'll find some pictures of similar clothes.

Vizzini, I know your thoughts - that skirt is getting moved out of your chew-range. 
"I'm insulted by your insinuations, Woman."

Flashback: Truly by Part Two Leather Dress

I've always shopped second-hand, but I do have a soft spot for Dots, which I've shopped at since the mid-80s. It's a reseller of samples that buyers use to place orders for boutiques and big department stores, as well as some deadstock from some businesses (my tights are all American Apparel, for example). 

Dots sends out regular emails with coupons, and when I saw one for "All Dresses $20", I dashed down. This was in early December 2010, so over 10 years ago now, and I first wore this dress here a few days later. 
I recognized right away that it was amazing quality leather (like butter!) and it's fully lined, plus POCKETS! 
It would have retailed for $499.00, and Dots was selling it at $149.99...but it was only $20 with the email coupon. Score! 

I had never owned a taupe garment before, but I have always loved browns. 
Those are the same leopard footless tights I still have! This was in March 2011.

I pulled out all the stops in May 2011. 
This was a really "out there" look for work! I still have that silk fringed scarf (it's L's actually), which is worn here as a belt/sash. 

I also still have this leopard blouse, seen in this October 2011 look.
I quickly discovered how versatile and easy it was for layering. 

This was the first time I layered a top over it, in April 2012, for the 30 For 30 For 12 Challenge. 
A dress that can double as a skirt is twice as useful. 

I really like this look, also from the April 2012 capsule.
I'm wearing a vintage slip under it to add a bit of visual length. 

A rare blonde look from March 2013. 
Vizzini is helping. Shoe Flashback here.

I layered both under and over the dress in this outfit from February 2014.
I loved those fabric/leather shoes - I thrifted them for $10! Jacket Flashback here.

My beloved fruital blouse got layered under the dress in September 2014. 
Same shoes as above, and that is Mom's 70s chain belt. 

I wore this in January 2015 to hang out and Zentangle with my former coworker Kadriya. 
A rare outing with my floral Doc Martens! This was the first time I layered a sweater under it. 

I went full Mod here in September 2015, again layering a thin sweater.
That's the first time I didn't belt the dress. It came with a grosgrain ribbon belt originally, by the way - I didn't keep it. 

I spy a weekend brunch outfit - this was in December 2015.
Those burgundy tights have destroyed a few items of clothing - grrr, non-colourfast things! 

There's my leopard blouse again, and today's lion belt. 
I like the pops of mustard yellow. This is from November 2016.

Fruital again, and we skipped a year - this is January 2018. I'm still technically wearing it once per fall/winter season, though. It doesn't stay out for spring anymore. 
That's the same belt as the March 2013 look above. I still have it. I miss my gold shoes. 

A dressy look in October 2018. 
That's my Dior belt! Klassy! 

And here's the last time I wore the dress, in December 2019. 
L and I are headed out for lunch. I'm wearing reader Shaz's sweater (we're sweater twins). 

This one's for you, Shaz! 
The "it's really a dress!" shot! Ha! 

Mathy stuff: I've worn my leather dress 17 times, so that brings us to $1.18 per wear. What a deal! 

What's your favourite look? What else should I try with it? 


  1. The new 'do is great.


  2. Your new haircut looks lovely and I'm so amazed with your skirt find - I can't wait to see how you wear it! And that leather dress really was a bargain too - you always find the best pieces! :)

    1. Thanks, Mica! I am excited to wear the skirt - I have an occasion lined up this weekend!

  3. Good Morning! wow I was enjoying the post as usual and got right to the end and you put a huge SMILE on my face. Thanks yep love that you encouraged me to get the red and it will be worn tomorrow in your honour! Hmm why have I not thought to wear it over a dress . I love the vintage skirt (Vix will be drooling) and how exciting to re-discover a thrift shop you had forgotten (albeit pricey) I love your hair cut by the way. You looked fab for your new hairdresser and I get being nervous it is over a year since I stepped into a salon hmm have a great day!! Shazxx hugs

    1. Aw, thanks, Shaz! I think of this as my "Shaz" sweater now. :)

      I know Vix will love the skirt - part of my fun in showing off my purchases is the appreciation that my fellow fashion-lovers will have with them.

      I was more nervous about meeting someone new than actually getting my hair cut, which I've had done 4-5 times since the pandemic started. Thanks, Shaz!

  4. Your hair looks fabulous! A good hairdresser is worth her weight in gold...I love your leather dress and it is so flattering on you. It looked wonderful in every flashback but I particularly like it with floral tops underneath and fancy tights.

    Your mum is so stylish so you know where you got it from.

    The new skirt is simply wonderful - what a shame you didn't have it when it was so cold. I can't wait to see you wear it.

    1. Thank you so much, Vronni! I am happy with the cut and hope it grows out well. Thank you - I love this dress. I need more floral tops...

      She is, and she has missed getting dressed up too. I'm glad she did some shopping.

      Thank you! It's not as thick as the Muppet skirt, so I can see myself wearing it more frequently. I'll do an outfit with it this weekend.

  5. Nice color pop there, Sheila. I think you will certainly bring spring to us all. The dress is more versatile than I would have thought a leather dress could be.

    1. Thanks so much, Sam! Aw, thank you - I think you will like my PANK dress, just posted it. I know, would you ever think a dress like this could be worn so many ways?

  6. No wonder Kelsey swooned over your dress, as it's absolutely amazing. I love how you styled it too, with the Paisley shirt, belt and cabled tights. We're currently having the most amazing Spring weather - it was 20°C today! - and I would have sweltered in your outfit. I was sweating like crazy in my Winter coat - the lightest one I had out - and didn't even wear a beret, so that I looked like a madwoman with the unruly hair!
    Speaking of hair, I absolutely LOVE your new haircut! The 1970s fringed maxi skirt you found is to die for and I wasn't at all surprised that it is Finnish. Much of my best vintage is Finnish! Shame you couldn't find out anything much about the label. And pricey or not, I wouldn't mind having a browse in that shop! xxx

    1. Thanks so much, Ann! She really liked it - I'll have to set it aside if I ever get tired of it (ha, as if!). Oh, I am so envious of your weather! It's still very cold here, but the flowers, buds and blossoms are on the way. I'm hoping that we get some warmer weather soon.

      Oh, thank you! I'm happy with the cut, although my own styling won't be this polished. I am really happy with my Finnish skirt, but I'm going to have to avoid that shop!! Too expensive. You would love it, though!

  7. Why were you nervous?? I love the outfit with the top over the dress,such beautiful colors! I have my eye on a gorgeous skirt suit from 2000. Have to think about it, it's expensive, and i wil have to think of our is worth it, if I will be wearing it a lot. Learned that from you.

    1. I'd never met her before, Nancy, and I often get nervous when I meet new people, especially when you have to build a relationship with them (like a hairdresser). I'm glad we got along.

      I loved that blouse - I stalked it until it went on sale, and wore it for years. Ooh, nice, I hope you make a solid informed decision.

  8. A leather dress with pockets for $20?! What a dream! Love the variety of outfits with it.

    1. I know, right, Ashley?? It was a steal and I feel very lucky that I've worn it so much over 10 years.

  9. Look for Dr Beckmann Colour and Dirt Collector at London Drugs to help with the colour bleed from those burgundy tights. I hope this link works:


    1. Wow, thank you! I wash them by hand now. I'll check that out!

  10. You just know that this witch absolutely adores your new autumnally hued maxi skirt. What a sensational find!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

  11. The leather dress is beautiful, and I love the layering. Your hair looks wonderful- love the cut!

    1. Thanks so much, Lovely! It won't look like this when I style it, ha ha!

  12. Hi Sheila and greetings from Finland! How fun to spot made in Finnish garment :)

    What I could found (in Finnish) about Arola: it was founded 1948. First wool products were fabrics, scarfs and ties. Starting 1955, they invested new machinery and started to make twinsets(?). From 1960, they started to export the items outside Finland. They had 300 employees at highest. Unfortunately, 1990's depression affected to them also and they did bankruptcy. They were trying to continue with name "Arola Design Oy" but it also banckupted 2012.
    In google search, if you try "arola skirt" or "arola villahame", you'll find some pictures of similar clothes.

    Have a great day!

    1. Maria, you rock! I've updated the post to add your info. Thank you!

  13. Your hair is looking fabulous, Sheila!
    I remember you buying that Pant-Man shirt (who can forget a name like that?) and love it with the leather dress.
    Your mum looks fantastic and yes, accessorised perfectly!
    I've sold a couple of Arola maxi skirts with fringed hems (I'd have kept them if they were my size!) lovely to read Maria's comments and learn more about them. The colour of yours is gorgeous! xxx

    1. Thank you so much, Vix! This is one of 2 Pant-Man tops I have. How cool that you've found and sold some Arola skirts!

  14. Great hair cut! Having a new stylist is always a scary thing for me - it's a crap shoot sometimes. You sure lucked out.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do with the pumpkin patch skirt. I have a feeling it will be something I would never think of doing and that it will be fabulous!

    1. She came recommended from our previous stylist, but L and I (we both go to her) really found her awesome, and she gave both of us excellent cuts.

      Thanks, Nana! I promise a fun outfit!

  15. Lovely outfit, you rock layering!. I do love the paisley shirt and textured tights, and those boots!, looking casual&comfy and elegant too!.
    And this taupe dress looks amazingly versatile, very inspiring color combos and layers!.
    Totally fab find of this Pumpkin Patch Witch skirt!, so delightful color and texture (bouclé wool! wooww).

    1. Thanks so much, Monica! It's a great dress, and I'm amazed at all the combinations I've done with it!

      I adore the skirt - so cool!

  16. What a versatile item that dress. I love the April 2012 outfit too. Really gorgeous.
    I am glad you had your haircut. It looks good. Mine is due March 5 as they re-open. YAY.

    1. That is a good one - I like it too. Thanks, Greetje!

      It feels good to have it cut - it had been about 10 weeks between cuts. Yay for you!

    2. That's a long time when you have a shorter style!

  17. That dress is fantastic and you have worn it so well in so many ways. The striped tunics your mother got is lovely. You always find great things when you're shopping too. It's a gift.
    Vizzini is such a beauty, look at his gorgeous eyes in that photo!

    1. Thanks so much, Ivana! Mom's got great fashion sense!

      He is a handsome boy!


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