The continuing saga of two women, their men, and a whole lot of hats.

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The Suit Hat

One day, she looked around and realized that Prudence’ once bountiful wardrobe was now a thinning supply room. Like a magpie in the graveyard, Temperance had plucked and picked every bauble and frill, taken panels of fabric from without and within to adorn her one of a kind creations. Looking upon the threadbare threads only served to mirror the reality of her sister’s lingering absence. And the sadness was almost too much for Temperance to bear. The only styptic for such a wound was creativity. But what does one create with dwindling supplies?

They say necessity is the mother of invention. And Temperance now knew this to be true. For as she was looking around a shop still rife with men’s finery, she realized that she had only scratched the surface of her resources. Prudence was not the only one who had flounced across oceans. Henry was even more to blame for her sister’s extended absence. And so Henry would be the one to offer Temperance his support.

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The Red Red Rose…

There was one man in the small town of Bridgeport known for his prose and his personal stench. His clothes, favoring tatters, his hat, a crumpled stovepipe, Edgar Stills wandered the streets, their entirety his home, flirting with women young and old, gender, his lone demographic. While in mass, the ladies of The Women’s League picked and talked about his shameful life but, once captured alone, be they married or not, his silver tongue lavished them in the riches only he could bestow. Giggles and titters his mainstay, the cavalier spared no expense when courting the opposite sex. His finishing flourish? The presentation of a red, red rose, “Whose color could not compare to the sanguine blush upon my lady’s cheek nor the scarlet stain upon her pillowed lips.” And though he had yet to court Temperance, his antics never failed to draw from her, reward, for she, a consummate observer, was often privy to his shows and found them endlessly inspiring.

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Design Details: The Window’s of Hell

We all know that history repeats. But we often forget that fashion history does too. Generally, it is thought that fashion tends to recycle itself approximately every twenty years. But there are certain design details that, while seem absolutely modern, actually originated centuries ago.

Men’s wear is a great example of this. Over the years it has proven the slowest to evolve. In fact, up until recently, most suits still featured details which were carried through to modern times from a long-gone age. The vents in the sides and in the back of a men’s suit-coat, for instance, were originally favored for function and not for form. While coats have grown shorter over the years, the original lengths required slits to accommodate the necessities of the times (like riding horses and carrying swords). While most men would still proudly carry a shiny melee weapon, sadly they are left only with this nod to a time when battling highway men by the clanging of steel was commonplace.

Suit Vents

Can you imagine the design details women’s fashion has implemented in recent years that might have actually had a place in eras that most aren’t even familiar with? Some of them might surprise you!

From runway to red carpet, modern fashion has become bold and unafraid to celebrate the female form. One such design detail that has scoffed at the prudish ways of bygone eras is the side cut-out. From flirtatious to rebellious, designers have pushed the limits of propriety through reduction.

Hells windows duo

But this idea is not entirely new. In fact, one could argue the original inspiration hales from the Early Gothic period (1330-1390), when shop was still spelled with two p’s. SHOPPE.

Hell's Windows

When thinking of centuries past, we often think of complicated fashions which greatly alter the feminine silhouette. Yet, much to the dismay of the church, the dresses of this period were unusually figure hugging.  The cotehardie was a tight fitting, body conscious dress that buttoned from neckline to hem over which the sideless surcoat was worn.  They say the devil is in the details and this very well could be the frock that proves it. Characterized by a deep cut armscye which revealed the figure beneath, the sideless surcoat was nicknamed “The Windows of Hell” proving, once again, that fashion risks often become fashion classics!

The Sweetest Days Have Yet to Come

Temperance lived the holiday months shrouded in sadness. Letters from her sister had been far and few between and the great Mr. Travis Quellwood, supposed love of her life, had skipped town with his troupe like a thief in the night. Apparently he decided he had had enough of their quaint little town. “My dear,” he waxed one night, “I am a traveler….” Those words echoed in her ears in the months after he left. It occurred to her that no matter how thin she was, she would never fit in a bindle.

While the ticking clock did taunt her in those darkened winter months, the gaiety of her favorite time of year eluding her just as love had, it was the calendar which offered respite. Make no mistake, though the servants were convinced she was a hair’s breath away from a walking corpse, her milky skin seeming almost blue and luminescent in the darkened hallways of the house, by the time the year turned over to begin anew Temperance…was over it.

Unlike the many ghosts of her checkered past, Mr. Quellwood would be relegated directly to the rubbish bin. The more she thought back on his grand demeanor and flowery words, the more it occurred to her that while perhaps she loved, she could never have loved him; for he was but a wraith from the moment he entered her life. A wraith that could only ever suck the breath from those he touched, his grandeur, a facade from behind which he could cower while he fed only on those with the most unique vision. And if Temperance had anything, it was unique vision.

Upon waking on that icy January morning, the sun brightly glinting on the snow, Temperance inhaled deep and strong. And it was in that single breath that she returned to life. Where once her wrath had burned within her, strong enough to sear through gaze alone, she found serenity. Where once she had drifted through the hallways, her curls wild and untamed like a nest of snakes, she now walked with purpose, making lists of the things that would need tending to after her months of brutal retreat. Where once she could not be spoken to, she now could not cease to speak. Temperance was, once again, a force to be reckoned with.

One day, while walking through town, she was stunned by a striking display. The dread of Christmas had barely been put to bed and already the dress makers were flooding their windows with pinks and whites and lace and…hearts. Ever so many hearts. Upon seeing this Temperance expected she would glower. She expected her spinster bitterness to rear its ugly head. But much to her surprise, her reaction was quite different. Instead of scoffing and snorting at the ridiculously feminine finery, she found herself quite intrigued…inspired even.

While Mr. Quellwood had decided that she was not worth trading his bindle for a chest of drawers, somewhere along the way she had decided she very much was. And though this was the first time it had occurred to her in such a conscious manner, the idea had taken root firmly somewhere along the way. Temperance’s spine straightened. Her chest puffed out. Had anyone been looking, they might even have noticed that, in that moment, hair which had only ever been frazzled twists of angry frizz, released a sigh of relief. What once was a wrangled, frantic, mess, was now somehow, just this side of tame.

In that moment, Temperance gathered herself up and took her new found inspiration back to the shop. She had not felt joy for her work in those long, dark, months, but now she knew she could begin again; refreshed, renewed! And she would not be the typical girl who grumbled and wept into her tea as St. Valentine (who Temperance already had her misgivings about) wove his garish heart-shaped web of white lace frills and gay pink furbelows. No. ~Temperance~ would step out on the 14th of February embracing it all. For in embracing the holiday focused so singularly on a couple’s love, Temperance was displaying the love she had found for herself.

The Sisters Brimm: Candy Hats

Happy New Year Polyvore

Happy New Year Polyvore
Just wanted to wish a happy and creative new year to all of our friends on Polyvore! Thanks for all of the inspiring sets and follows. We hope we have managed to inspire you as well.

Breaking the Fourth Wall: Help With Your Inspiration Boards

The Sisters Brimm is approaching 1000 likes on Facebook and we think it’s a great time for a contest, the prize of which is a custom creation by us. Here’s how it works:

To enter start building inspiration boards based on what you would like to see in a Sisters Brimm creation!

Your inspiration board can be based on:

a current costume/outfit you have

a costume/outfit you are planning to put together for the future

a theme or persona you base your outfits on

Like our page, share our page and post your inspiration boards to our Facebook page or our Instagram.

Tag us @TheSistersBrimm

And use #TheSistersBrimm , #inspirationboard & #TheSistersBrimmContest to make sure we see your entries.

When we first posted this contest we thought it seemed pretty straight forward. But we have found, much to our surprise, that the concept of assembling an Inspiration Board has proven a tad daunting to many of our followers. When we talked it over we realized there are many reasons why posting an #InspirationBoard might seem intimidating. Whether it is because of a mild case of stage fright or you just can’t seem to edit your ideas down, putting yourself out there creatively can be a scary thing! Not to worry, The Sisters are here to help!

Inspiration boards can consist of anything you find inspiring: fabrics, accessories, a particular outfit, or a theme. Choose one item that sparks your innermost greed. If you want to own it, hoard it, or possess it, it’s probably a good place to start! The Sisters have a weakness for beautiful fabrics and really amazing feathers.

 

This went on to become one killer custom!

This went on to become one killer custom!

 

You can pick one item and use it to choose your next inspirations by asking yourself simple questions. What characteristics do you like about the item. Color? Texture? Time period? Genre? Materials? Once you know what draws your eye you can search out other items or pictures that have similar characteristics. This is something that many of you are already doing on Pinterest. This is just on a smaller scale. Think of it as an exercise in refinement!

Inspiration can come from anything. Even if the ultimate goal is to create an outfit, your inspirations do not have to ~only~ be wearable items:

 

You can’t wear a vase or a lamp but MY GOD who wouldn’t want to!

 

If you find yourself unsure if what you have chosen works together, try beginning with this simple formula we use all the time. It gives you a clear and concise starting point from which to expand your ideas.

 

Creating a Cohesive Palette

The above collage was done on our Polyvore.com account. Not very Victorian, but a good illustration of how the formula can tie together colors you may not consider compatible or fashionable. Neither of The Sisters are prone to wearing purple and orange together but, if done well, they make for quite a stunning palette!

Try not to over-think your boards and be not afraid! This is an opportunity for you to figure out what makes you happy! Don’t bother with worry over whether or not others will agree. Go forth and create. A beautiful custom hat could be yours and all it will cost you is a little bit of courage!

For more tips and examples of what we find inspiring check us out on Facebook and Instagram (#TheSistersBrimm).

Breaking the Fourth Wall: Reality in the World of The Sisters Brimm

Recently, we here at The Sisters Brimm have decided that it is necessary to add a new section to our blog. In the past, we have used this as a a doorway into the world of the sisters, Prudence and Temperance. After-all, it is through their eyes that these many hats have come to be. However, there is another aspect to these hats. Once they have been dreamt up, it is by the hands of Jamie and Heather, that the hats are guided through the transition from The Sister’s world to ours. And while the Sisters have much to say, it turns out that we do too.

So we feel it is necessary on occasion to “break the fourth wall” offering tips, tricks, and new ideas to help our fellow lovers of Victorian and fantasy headwear present themselves properly!

Gone are the days of gorgeous hats sitting atop meager ponytails! Down with the poorly accessorized gown! 

Ponytail again?

No friends, now, for just a mere moment of your time, you, that’s right, YOU can be the clearest ringing bell at the ball!

Wow. I don’t know when this became an ad. Just goes to show how closely the world of The Sisters Brimm is to our own. One never knows when they may slap the rouge out of your hand or pin up your hair just so that the crowning glory of your crowning glory has a perfectly proper perch!

And while the Sisters have their ideas on fashion, deportment, and sumptuary law, their alter-egos (imprisoned by the meager realities of modern times as are you) do too. We understand that not all, in fact MOST of you do not have lady’s maids to lace your corsets and to properly pin-curl our hair. We sympathize to no end over the fact that “they (whoever “they” are) just don’t make ‘em (whatever “‘em” are) like they used to!” And we thought it was high time, neighbor, you had someone out there to acknowledge your struggle and to FEEL YOUR PAIN.

In short, we are excited and eager to share what we know with you. From building a costume, to fashion history, to suggestions on what the H-E-double toothpicks to do with your hair, we, the sisters behind the Sisters Brimm, are here to help!