Vintage clothing and accessories are one of the most accessible and affordable (not to mention creative) ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe and home goods. So every week, I comb Etsy and eBay and find beautiful vintage pieces around a particular theme. (Check out last week's entry, Get '60s style with 'Pan Am' flair.)
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I'm a little obsessed with "Downton Abbey," a celebrated TV show that's available on ITV and PBS. It's all about an upperclass British family on the eve of and during World War I. Not only is the storyline completely absorbing and the acting top-notch, but one gets to learn a bit of history along the way (it is set almost 100 years ago).
And as an added bonus, the style and costumes are absolutely gorgeous. Sartorially inspired, I've been coming up with my own modern versions of the Belle Epoque/post-Victorian era outfits that still work today, and the key seems to be a good quality, relatively simple, long skirt. See some great examples below, most from vintage sources (though not necessarily 100 years old!). Note that these are not peasant skirts, wrap skirts, circle skirts or hippie skirts, but a more tailored, but still full-length look.
The Oracle Vintage Store on Etsy features this two-layer skirt that has a satin layer underneath, overlaid by a translucent top layer. Paired with a sleeveless white button-down blouse, this would create a classicly beautiful look.
Etsy's blouse store has this vintage navy Prada number on offer, and the small bustle at the knee makes it an unusual skirt shape today, but one that the ladies of the Belle Epoque would find familiar.
This beautiful Pendleton plaid skirt from Mak Mak on Etsy has a very trim fit, perfect for pairing with a softer blouse up top.
This skirt's buttons are vintage, but the rest of it is handmade by a designer in China, and comes in a choice of black, brown or dark grey wool, and is lined with cotton. A single pocket brings some asymmetric flair; from Ideas2Life on Etsy.
Rabiyah on Ebay offers up a lighter-hued take on the long skirt; this classic style by Banana Republic is a perfect modern example of the Belle Epoque skirt for today.
An honorable mention goes to Treehouse28's store on Etsy; her skirts aren't vintage, but handmade and really comfortable looking as they are made with a jersey knit.