Red Coat, Cherry Dress, and Postpartum Depression

Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

Red is a Happy Color

Yesterday, I left my kids with my mother-in-law and got ready to go to the grocery store. I had just recommitted to following a healthy plan to lose the baby weight that has slowly crept up in the 15 months since Evie’s birth, and I was feeling good. When I stopped by my house to pick up my purse and a few other things, I was already formulating a plan to wear this coat with this fur collar.

And then, I touched up my eyeliner. Then, I had to do my hair. Before I knew it, I was dressed to the toes in a beautiful, cheerful outfit, all just to run grocery errands. It is the second time this week that this has happened. That’s when I realized: I can finally say I’m okay.  Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

Postpartum depression hit me sneakily.

The first flare was three days after Evie’s birth with an internet interaction that left me in pretty harsh tears. I didn’t realize what it was then, and just assumed I was a bit tired. A week later, we were at a party with my husband’s family and suddenly I just needed to go home. I felt anxious and emotional and ended up fleeing to an empty room to cry for no obvious reason. Still, I had just had a baby and I assumed it was lingering exhaustion.

But later the next week, it finally dawned on me. Sitting on our couch watching Asa toddle away out the door with his daddy as they walked over to grandma’s to give me some quiet, I was hit with an inexpressible sadness. I held my newborn girl to my chest and sobbed.

I remember thinking: “I don’t want to be a mom to two kids. I want my first baby back. I don’t want Asa to grow up. I don’t want a second baby. I want to go back.”Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

And the thing was, I did want this second baby.

I already loved her fiercely and unconditionally. But in the deepest, worst moments of depression, I just wanted to escape. I didn’t want to face the confusing emotions that postpartum hormones were shoving into my chest and stifling me with. I just wanted to hug my baby, curl up in a dark place, and sleep. That’s when I realized that something more than just exhaustion was messing with me.

Through the first six months of Evie’s life, I felt like I was in a haze. I do not have very many memories from her first six months, except the harsh and shaky feelings of depression. I took a lot of photos because I needed a physical way to hang on to the memories since my brain put a fog over every day. Some days, I would wake up and the sun would shine in my life and everything felt okay. Shaky and unsure, but okay. I could get up, play with Asa, do minimal things around the house, and feel like I might be getting better. Other days I would wake up and ask myself “are you okay today?” and the resounding “no” of my aching heart would answer, and I would move through the day fighting just to survive.

There were a LOT of outfit posts I shared through those months that I only wore for the time it took to take photos. Because I clung to blogging. I wanted to seem okay, so that I would believe I was.

Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comI struggled a lot with communication in those days. I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong with me; nobody really talks about depression like they should, and I wanted others to see my life as being okay. Not perfect, but I didn’t want deep questions. I didn’t want to be asked how I was, nor have conversations about how I was feeling, nor interact with humans on anything more than a superficial level.

I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and interacting with Facebook groups. People who didn’t know me in person, to whom I could present an entirely happy and perfect version of myself. I thought that perhaps if I could just pretend I was okay, eventually I would start to feel okay, and then things would get better.
Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

But, of course, that’s not how it works.

After about six months, I started to come out of the haze a little bit and realized that the best way to overcome, for me, was to tell people about it. So I started easy, telling my mom friends in mom groups. Then I moved on to a few of my best friends. Then, my husband and family. They were the hardest because they know me the best and they would ask the toughest questions for me to answer honestly. I can put on a face to my friends, but I can’t hide things so well from those who know me best.

It seemed like it took a long time to come out of it, but today has made me realize that I have come out of it. Because today and yesterday and the day before, and perhaps for a week or two now, I have gotten dressed without even thinking about it. It’s not an effort any  more to get into clothes that look good, because I feel good inside. And it’s less of a struggle now to eat healthy and nourishing things, because I’m no longer drowning inexplicable sorrows on the inside. Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

It no longer feels overwhelming and hard to get dressed in things that make me happy, because I am finally feeling truly happy on the inside. Nor does it feel hard to do a photoshoot after errands, or to get myself moving around, or to play and be silly with my kids. It no longer feels hard to make healthy decisions instead of eating the easiest thing I can find. Those markers that I have been using as a gauge to determine the state of my mental health are finally all coming up positive.

And it’s a fantastic feeling.

If you struggle with postpartum depression, please do not hesitate to get help.

I think mine was very mild, but it was still very real and the best thing I could do, for me, was to talk about it. Start there. Tell someone how you’re feeling. Reach out when people offer. Accept that you’re not okay, and take steps to fix it. Talk to me if you need to; I will always be here to listen and offer what support I can. But if you need to visit a doctor and take medication, do that. Do whatever it takes, because being stuck in depression with no way out, feeling alone and out of control, is the worst place to be. Someday, it will pass and you will be okay. But until then, don’t forget that in the flurry of taking care of a newborn, you also need to care for yourself.

Dress, gift from Skye (similar here, here, and here) | coat, thrifted (similar here and here and here) | belt, belonged to another dress | collar, brooch, and earrings, vintage | scarf, thrifted | tights, Target (similar)| booties, thrifted (same here and in many places online)

Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Vintage paisley dress, knee high boots, and thoughts on standing out

Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.comStanding On My Own | eyreeffect.com

Standing On My Own

When I first started fashion blogging, I always wanted to blog about items that were easily accessible. I felt like it was better to share items that others could snag if they really loved what I was wearing. And, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to wear the dresses my fellow bloggers wore, to emulate the styles they created, to be one of the “cool” bloggers. At the time, I was all about trying to get my hands on anything retro-cute; Modcloth, Forever 21, Target, etc.

As I transitioned more and more into vintage style, it became about the reproduction styles everyone else had. The PUG skirts, the Bernie Dexter dresses, the BAIT shoes, the Modcloth sweaters. I wanted to emulate. It was all about fitting in, sharing accessible style, and creating a space where others could take what I had and make it their own.

Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.com

Most of what I blogged about, though, I did not wear because I was 100% in love with that style, but because I was too afraid to branch out and commit to the look I really resonated with. It’s been a reoccurring theme in my life: wanting to please others, to fit in, and to be part of the “it” crowd. Not in an active, scrabbling way, but subconsciously.

Until now. Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.comStanding On My Own | eyreeffect.com

Something has changed in the last few months and I am settling into my own.

Largely thanks to Lotty Dotty Vintage, whose affordable prices have allowed me to purchase the vintage dresses that I used to only dream about. I started to purchase vintage and purge the retro-cute, and as my closet transforms so does my attitude. I find myself being more assertive with sponsorship offers, less afraid to say no. Less afraid to purge things that I love even though they don’t fit my style aesthetic. Bolder to walk around during errands dressed to the toes like a 1950’s housewife.

Towards the latter half of this year, I have felt more confident in contacting companies that I admire, to work with them. I used to feel as though I wasn’t good enough; my blog wasn’t unique enough, or my photography wasn’t stellar enough; I didn’t post adventure-outfit posts, I didn’t wear the right brands, I didn’t have the right face or the right body. I wasn’t like everyone else, so I didn’t feel like I was worthy of what everyone else did. Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.com

But now? I’m not like everyone else, and it’s a thrilling feeling. There is no one in my town who dresses like me. If there is, I haven’t seen her yet. And for the first time, I’m not afraid to be unique. Ten years ago I was so afraid to stand out that I denied myself all of the pretty dresses I loved and wore baggy jeans and cheap tee shirts to try to fit in. I was afraid people would say I was being fake if I dressed up every day. I was afraid of being put in the spotlight, or being questioned about my choices, or being mistaken as stuck up for wearing a dress when everyone else was wearing jeans.

Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.comStanding On My Own | eyreeffect.com

They often say that women blossom and grow strongest in their thirties. I’ve got a little over a year until I hit that age, and I think it’s really true. I don’t really care what people think of my aesthetic any more, but most people react positively. I wish I had been brave enough when I first started this blog to just go for what I really wanted, and not be afraid of being a little different.

I envy bloggers like Skye, who is right around the age that I was when I started blogging, and has already started to settle into her amazing vintage style. I wish I had been that brave at her age. I am so inspired by her. Even before she fell into her vintage aesthetic, she was unafraid to wear and share what she wanted to wear and only what she wanted to wear. As crazy as she may have looked, it was always 100% authentically herself. Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.comStanding On My Own | eyreeffect.comStanding On My Own | eyreeffect.com

I have been asked before what advice I would give to budding bloggers, and as cliche as it sounds, it’s the best advice anyone could ever have given me:

Be yourself.

As someone who has traveled a style journey here on this blog for 7+ years, I know how tempting it is to emulate and recreate and try to fit in with the crowd you admire. It’s something we all do in life in one way or another, be it how we dress or how we talk or what we admit to watching or eating. Sometimes, it feels like you are following your own dreams but then you wake up and realize you’ve borrowed them from someone else. Often, I fall into loving something just because it’s a popular thing to love, or people expect it to be my thing. Admitting that it’s not for me is hard, especially when I know others really just want me to be happy and are making an effort towards that happiness.

And it’s okay to emulate those that you admire and to love popular things. But don’t forget to keep yourself in the mix. Instead of thinking “what would that blogger wear?” or “how would she put things together?” remember to ask yourself “what would I wear?” and “how do I want to put things together?” Because that’s something I forgot all too often.

Dress, Lotty Dotty Vintage  (similar here, here, and here)| fur collar, vintage/gift | earrings, vintage/grandma’s | leaf brooch and headscarf, vintage/thrifted | corset beneath, c/o Orchard Corset | boots, Amazon | tights, Target | belt, belonged to another dress

Standing On My Own | eyreeffect.com

Support my blog with Patreon

Save

Save

Save

1940’s vintage dress, backseam hose, and fur trim booties

A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.comA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

A Colorful Past

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the 1940’s, I think of subdued colors, of wasp-waist skirt-suits, of velvet details and tweed fabrics. It’s funny how our perception of the past is influenced by the photos we most often see. And, of course, more often than not photos of the midcentury, and especially the forties, are black-and-white. And indeed, on Etsy you will most likely come across 1940’s dresses in subtle blues, toned-down purples, textured grays, and faded florals.

But then this dress entered my life. With its powerful amaranth color, the unique Bakelite rose, gem, and stud detail on the collar, the textured fabric, and the bold buttons, this dress is everything I’ve ever wanted, and the perfect example of how colorful the past really was.

A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.comA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

My goal is to perfectly blend in with my Tumblr blog.

I haven’t posted there in a little while, but I spend intermittent spurts of time going through and reblogging every midcentury style post I can find. Tumblr is basically my place to curate a board of the style I want to emulate. Pinterest works too, but somehow I find Tumblr more aesthetically pleasing to browse through. The waterfall of images and the ability to focus solely on one thing just clicks better in my brain.

As well, I’ve been following vintage blogs more and more lately;  My Kingdom for a Hat(whom I have followed for years), Nora Finds, Miss Lark Bahar, The Dressed Aesthetic, and more that I can’t recall at the moment. Seeing true vintage looks has been inspiring me so much lately! Sure, it takes a bit longer to put together a look from head to toe, hair done and all, but it’s worth it.

A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

My next goal is to acquire the perfect petticoat. I think I may go the vintage route, as I have tested a more popular Malco Modes petti and found it to be a little too full and short for my liking (though I know they carry many styles and another might be better), and an Amazon petticoat that might be long enough, but is admittedly a bit cheap and rides up and down and all over the place. I crave a petticoat that is long enough for my just-below-the-knee dresses, that has more of a bell shape than a triangle shape, that isn’t going to emphasize my already emphatic posterior, and won’t add so much volume that I feel like I’m in a costume.

I think something like this or this or this might be perfect. These types, which seem vastly more popular in the pinup and vintage world, tend to give me a comical shape instead of the gentle flare I’m looking for.

A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.comA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.comA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

The proper base sets the look.

Of course, I’m not out to buy a bullet bra, but the ever-popular Rago Longline bra is on my radar. And possibly Spanx, for the first time in my life. Acquiring that smooth, nipped-waist look is an art that requires many little secrets! My Orchard Corset black satin corset also helps when I feel like I want to look extra vixen-y, but I’ll admit I often forego the corset in preference of comfort. I haven’t quite broken it in, so it isn’t to the stage where I can wear it all day. Though, it’s comfortable for quite a while, so I don’t doubt that someday perhaps I’ll be in a corset all day without a second thought!

A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

I think having kids really set me on the path to true vintage, corsets and spanx and all. After you get a bit squidgy in certain areas, having some good support and sucking-in is ideal. Someday I would love to do a comparison post of corset vs Rago bra vs spanx and regular bra and all of the other undergarment options I’m hoping to try. I love seeing how things look with different base garments underneath. Today, I’m not wearing any constrictive undergarments and while I still feel fantastic and love how the dress looks, I think having some smoothing underthings would make it look even better.

Vintage dresses were constructed with shaping in mind, and so are enhanced with the proper base. And being a slight nerd in the “get it historically accurate” department, I’m on a mission to have the correct base for every outfit! A Colorful Past | eyreeffect.comA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

And of course I wouldn’t mind shaving a few inches off here and there in the process. Ha!

If you wear shaping garments, what are your favorites? I admit, I haven’t bought a new bra since well before Evie was born, and I’m in dire need of some new underthings! Tell me all of your vintagewear secrets!

Dress, Lotty Dotty Vintage | belt, hat, and bag, vintage/thrifted | heels, thrifted but can be found in several places online | backseam tights, Amazon  | earrings, vintageA Colorful Past | eyreeffect.com

Support my blog with Patreon

Save

Save

Save

A plaid vintage housedress, tall boots, and a headscarf

A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.comA Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

A Vintage Housedress

This dress only has one pocket. So far as I have understood, generally dresses with a single pocket from the midcentury were meant to be house dresses, not really worn in public. I laughed when I realized that this dress is probably meant for cleaning and cooking and home-bound things, as we’ve recently seen an upswing of people in their pajamas at the store due to the cold snap of the last few weeks! Ah, how the standards of appropriate public attire have changed! A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.comA Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

Of course, I’m not going to judge what anyone wears to the grocery store. As a mother of two whose time to get ready during the weekday is very limited, I absolutely understand those days when you just can’t be bothered to get properly dressed. My stained yoga pants and ripped tees have been thrown on for the public far more often than I care to admit.

Lately, though, I have been trying to make more of an effort. After the closet clean-out and refill, I have so many more options of garments that fit and even if my hair is unwashed and I have no makeup on, I throw on a pretty dress and instantly feel better. A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

I think it’s important to wear what makes you feel good.

Many times when I am asked why I started a fashion blog, I struggle to find a deeper answer. I want to come up with some great logic that has more “umph” to it than just “because I want to.” Not that this is a bad excuse to fashion blog at all, and the truth is, I mainly blog for that exact reason.

But I also blog because I want to encourage people, especially women, and especially moms, that it is okay and it is possible to be a mother of young children, to weigh a little more than you would like, and still dress in a way that you like.  I think it’s important to put that out there, because motherhood seems so daunting. You give up so much when you become a mom, and in some ways, the public’s expectations of you change sort of negatively.

A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com People are always surprised if I go out looking like this and then they discover I have two kids. Especially soon-to-be mothers; the expectation is that you have kids and become a bit schlubby. That you will no longer have time for yourself, to look nice because you want to look nice, to look nice for your husband, to look nice for whatever reason; that it’s selfish to take a little time in the day to spruce up; that it’s stupid, or vain, or shallow, or whatever other things I have heard.

And I have fallen into all of these thoughts myself. Sometimes, it does feel stupid to wear nice clothes when I’m just going to be at home with my kids. Sometimes it feels vain or shallow. Sometimes it feels useless.

A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.comA Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

But then I remind myself of the benefits.

If I get dressed up in a pretty outfit, I work harder throughout the day. My house gets cleaner, I am more creative, I feel more energized, I’m less likely to do the least amount of work required of me that day. If I get dressed up, my mood changes. I’m happier, and by turn my kids are happier (because a happy mama means a happy home!). And if I get dressed nicely, my marriage benefits too. I feel prettier, my husband appreciates it, and I’m more likely to want to go out and do things at the end of the day. A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.comA Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com A Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

Getting dressed isn’t just about looking good, but also feeling good and preparing myself mentally for the day. It’s not just beneficial to me, but to my family.

Of course, some days it totally is just about the pretty dress. But essentially… I fashion blog because it’s an important part of who I am in the flurry of also being a wife and a mother, and it’s a part of my outreach to other young wives and mothers who might feel a bit bogged down and stuck in a wardrobe they don’t care for. Or anyone, really, who wants to get out of that hard little spot of not feeling “good enough” for pretty clothes.

It’s always a good time to get dressed. You’re always good enough. Get dressed. 😉

Dress, Lotty Dotty Vintage | Boots, Amazon | Tights, Target | Cardigan and belt, thrifted | headscarf and brooch, vintageA Vintage Housedress | eyreeffect.com

Save

Save

Save

Vintage Plaid Dress, vintage apron, and housewife vibes

My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.comMy Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com My Grandmother’s Pie

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! I wore this outfit to celebrate early with my in-laws, and was reminiscing on Thanksgivings past as I baked pies and took outfit photos.

This pie dish belonged to my grandma, who was around my age in the 1950’s. Below, she is on the left at 24 years old in 1949, standing with a friend of her mother’s. My grandma and I are not blood related, as she adopted my dad. But I’ve always felt a strong kinship with her; more so than just a grandmother-granddaughter relationship. We were both born on April 27, and thus share the middle name Elizabeth. I was her first granddaughter to be born, from her oldest son. We shared a love for writing letters, and making house, and she was the kindest woman I knew. It wasn’t until after she passed away that I discovered how stylish she was in her youth.

I had never had a style icon until I found these young photos of her!

My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.comMy Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com

This dress is one of my new-to-me acquisitions. It was originally handmade by a woman in the 1950’s, and when I saw it online it was love at first sight. It comes from the shop Retro Red Rocket on Etsy, and I just have to mention what a sweet package this was. Upon opening it, not only did she include my items, but also an extra pair of earrings and a beautiful blue scarf, both of which I will definitely be using soon! I love it when Etsy shop owners do those little extras. Anything from pretty packaging — her mailing envelope was rose-printed — to nice tissue, to fun little items inside. The personal touches make it that much more special. My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com

Time To Be Thankful

I really love Thanksgiving; it’s such a great time to remember what you’re thankful for, and to appreciate what you have that much more. Often in the day to day rush, I forget to stop and just remind myself of what we have. How we are blessed by the people who surround us. How we are taken care of with food on the table and a roof over our heads. How we are able to work solid jobs or stay home to take care of our kids. I forget sometimes, because there are so many things I wish we DID have. We have so much to be thankful for. My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.comcollage-3

So even though today may turn out to be a bit different from what we had hoped, with family sick and out of town, it’s still a wonderful day to be thankful.

I’m thankful for a great landlord to rent from, for this lovely little house we live in, for all of the technology that allows me the friendships I’ve made from blogging. I’m thankful for future opportunities that are cropping up (that I am so excited for but have to stay mum for now!). I’m thankful for my beautiful little family; my sweet cuddly Evie and silly energetic Asa, and my hardworking husband. I’m thankful to be able to stay at home with my kids, and have my job be motherhood and keeping house. My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com

I’m thankful for my extended family and my in laws, for all of our friends who don’t care if my house is perfectly clean (ha!), and the community we have of support and friendship and love. I’m even thankful for the gloomy Washington weather, which is rainy and glum more often than not. My Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.comMy Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.comMy Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com

I’m thankful for this blog. For all of you. I have made so many amazing friends through blogging and I cannot express how much love I feel right now. You are all wonderful. I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating, and just a fantastic day if not.

What are you thankful for?

Dress, Retro Red Rocket on Etsy | shoes and belt, thrifted | apron and earrings, vintage/thrifted | brooch, gift from Hannah | tights, Target | pie pan, vintage, grandma’sMy Grandmother's Pie | eyreeffect.com

Support my blog with Patreon

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save