Sunday, December 21, 2014

Retro in Tacoma

At first, I got disappointed. The big snow storm in the mountain area meant that we had to cancel a long awaited trip simply because it was not safe (the pass got closed later that day). Snow in mountains often means rain here by the sea, so for our fun family day (or family fun day, if you will) we needed to find places to visit without getting wet. Justin offered a trip to a conservatory and car museum, both are in downtown Tacoma which is only 15 minutes away from home. Hooray! 

Warning: many photos in this post. 

Tacoma was developing madly in the Victorian era and has quite a lot of well preserved gorgeous architecture from that historical period, one of which is the Botanical Conservatory presented to the city by W.W. Seymour in 1908 (read the history here). It is one of only three Victorian style conservatories on the West Coast of the US (another one is located in Volunteer Park in Seattle, by the way). On a drizzly gray day, which are in abundance here, a trip to a conservatory is just what the doctor ordered. We immediately were taken with the beauty of this place, the vibrancy of flowers and other tropical plants. They say that in the Victorian era, many Tacomans were introduced to exotic tropical flora for the first time, but even now, over 100 years later, so many of us only see it in photos or on TV, which is still amazing of course, but not the same as a personal experience.

We were sad to hear that this magnificent historical place might get closed next year because there are just not enough visitors to keep it going. We made our little contribution and encourage you to visit this true little gem whether you are local or plan a trip to Tacoma. 

Just 5 minutes from Wright Park where the Conservatory is located, and we are at another gem this beautiful old town has to offer, this time America's Car Museum, opened in 2012. I wrote about our first trip to this place here. Flowers for Mum, cars for Dad, right? Wrong! Just as my Dad enjoyed the conservatory, my Mom loved the museum the minute she walked in! The place is made with love, and you will feel it right away. It's the biggest private car collection, donated by Harold LeMay's family after his death, and it's truly amazing. I will leave you with photos which Justin took (there are many more in our album - he obviously was inspired). 

Let me only tell you a few words about my outfit. You might remember this 1940s inspired dress I showed last Summer (here). I wanted to style it with a large fabric flower and asked a fellow blogger lovely Oksana of Oksana+Hobbies to make one for me. Here you can see the flower I received in a parcel this week. Thank you, Oksana for making this adorable addition to my accessory collection! You can find a link to Oksana's vintage and hand made jewelry Etsy shop on the right sidebar. And here is how I styled my summer dress for a wet winter day of exploring. Much like LeMay with his car collection, I am not attached to only one period of fashion. I see beauty in many different styles and eras, from precious old times up to modern days. My outfit is mismatched and not ideal - and yet fun and dynamic. My dress says 1940s, although it's modern. My vinyl carpet bag is most probably from the 1960s as knowledgeable and gorgeous Curtise and Vix recently suggested (here), and I very much trust their expertise. I bought this fair isle knitted wool cardigan in Goodwill for only $3 or $4, and it's of perfect quality and condition. And finally my boots are Victorian inspired, by Josef Seibel (German brand I believe) and super comfy for a long day of good walkabout.

When we turned one of many corners of the museum, two nice ladies offered to take our photo in a 1923 Buick which belonged to LeMay. We instantly received two prints of this shot in our hands plus a digital photo in our email box - all for free. It was truly an unforgettable day. We'd probably like our trip to the mountains if it happened, but at the end of the day we were even glad that it didn't. First of all, being from Siberia, we really don't miss the snow. We saw so much of it for so long, so if we never see it again in the next 50 years, we won't be sad. And secondly, I think that in life our disappointments can lead us to happiness... if we choose to find that little switch inside of ourselves to turn our focus to a new direction. I'm learning.

My outfit is not just retro style, but also mostly thrifted:
Dress - consignment
100% wool cardigan - found at Goodwill
1960s vinyl carpet bag - antique mall
Flower - hand made by Oksana
Golden ring - boutique $5 find
Jingle bells ring - from the W.W. Seymour Conservatory gift shop
Belt - Target
Tights - via Macy's

Happy discoveries and Happy holidays!

I will be joining Sacramento's Share-in-Style with my retro Christmas-y post, 
and Anne's 52 Pick-me-up: Bejeweled - see you there!



  1. I love that polka dot dress, you can dress it up or down and it will always look great! The fair isle cardigan and Oksana's flower are wonderful additions, and I really like your tights too.
    You're quite right, even if your plans have to change, there is usually another opportunity to enjoy instead. It's taken me a LONG time to get my head round that one! xxx

  2. Oh dear, I didn't even mention the lovely Victorian glasshouses and the car museum - what fun places to visit! xxx

  3. In your first photo I thought, hey, that looks tropical! How is that? Maybe it's a summer photo? But that didn't really make sense either. And it was the conservatory. How wonderful! The love the greenery in such places but the fresh air inside makes my head spin in a good way.
    And the car museum looks like lots of fun too. It's funny how plans can change last minutes for the better. I can see your family roaring down the highway with you in your fantastic outfit, grinning behind the wheel.

  4. What a stunning outfit, a riot of textures, patterns and colours!
    I can't think of a better day out than a botanical garden and admiring some classy old cars. Justin's a clever man. xxx

  5. Oh, no, so sad this conservatory might close. Think I'll hop in my car and drive North very very soon. Love your outfit, especially all the details like the floral stockings with the boots. Fantastic styling!

  6. I love, love, love your mixed patterns! Great outfit!

  7. What a fun playful outfit!!! You look simply amazing in the dress! And the flower matches the dots on the dress! Perfect. I'm so happy that you like the flower.
    Have a wonderful holiday!!!

  8. Firstly, I love your polka dot dress with the special brooch , your great tights and boots. I love wearing spots, they always make me feel happy, I hope they do for you too.The conservatory is wonderful, hope it doesn,t close. Interesting car museum. Such a special family photo . Wishing you and your family a magical Christmas. X

  9. This is such a wonderful 1940's style outfit. That dress is perfect on you and the flower is a wonderful addition. The photos really turned out wonderful. So happy you were able to turn a disappointment into a memorable moment.

    Merry Christmas!


  10. What great places to visit ... I've never been to either! The botanical gardens just suit your style to a T .... there's a lot of fodder for stories there, I'll bet. Wonderful that your family was with you at the LeMay collection. Wonderful retro-style photo ... we can see where you get your pretty face in your mother's!
    Merry Christmas, darling Natalia!

  11. really interesting places to visit!! and you look fabulous, love your dress!! and also love your tights and your cute flower brooch!!, such a pretty accessory!!

  12. That car museum looks so much fun, I love vintage cars, the older the better :D
    I also love your fair isle cardigan, so stylish and suits nicely with your skin and hair tone.
    Merry Christmas!