Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Long and Short of It

Just coming away from a weekend at Long Grove Vintage Days, I have measurements fresh on the brain.  The modern reality of shopping often hangs on labels like Medium, size 10 and long, but how often do these labels actually remain consistent to the information that they are supposed to represent?  As women worldwide know well, not often.  A size 6 in one brand may be a couple of inches smaller than another brand, and let's not forget about the unique size challenges when it comes to vintage clothing-- a 1940's size 8 does not equal a 1970's size 8.

Enter: Measurements!  These numbers, with never-changing meaning, should be your friend.  An inch is always an inch, thank goodness!  They are the only unit of size that are not in constant flux from brand to brand, and decade to decade. Knowing your measurements can save time, money and the frustration of the "this doesn't fit!" moment. We all want that, right?  That's why Novel Nellie only lists measurements to express size! Never return, exchange or fuss over an ill-fitting garment again (in any shop, just ask for garment measurements!)

Now that we've talked about why measurements matter, let's get practical!

The most tried and true way to find your garment measurements, is to find a dress (or romper, or jumpsuit) that fits you well, and measure that lying flat!  This is better than measuring your actual body, because a garment is slightly bigger than our body measurements.  To get an accurate hip measurement, you'll need to measure a dress that's fitted at the hip, or even a pair of pants (i.e. not like the dress pictured below).  

For bust, measure from armpit to armpit, for the waist, across the smallest part of the midsection, and for hips, across the widest part of the fitted garment.  I usually measure length from the shoulder to the hem.

It's pretty amazing how simply knowing our measurements can make shopping easier, do away with labels, and find styles we like faster!  If you have any questions about how to find or use your measurements, send us a note at :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Long Grove Vintage Days!

This coming Saturday and Sunday, August 20th and 21st, you can find Novel Nellie at historic Long Grove's newest street festival: Vintage Days!

Not only am I stoked about this weekend to get out in the sunshine and to organize a stunning booth full of vintage clothing for you, but there's also a very special place in my heart for the venue because Long Grove is my hometown!

My childhood elementary school is nestled just next to the historic Village, I have so many memories of many of the old (now gone) shops, and I've watched over the past decade or so as Long Grove has...well, sort of died.  I even wrote this post on the topic, back in 2014 because the decline of the business environment made me so sad.  In the past several of months, though, I've felt a sort of changing of the winds when I've been in Long Grove-- new growth of businesses, aesthetic improvement, promising new endeavors, and finding shops that I actually want to shop in-- all of this while still maintaining Long Grove's values in history, small business and authenticity. So while many buildings in the Villiage are currently for sale, I see that as a good thing!  New ownership, new blood, new ideas to bring life back to this little historic village that I call my home town.

The only thing possible sweeter than that, is that I get to be part of that resurging business environment by setting up shop at this first year of Vintage Days!  If you are in the Chicago-land area this weekend, you should definitely check it out-- to me, it feels like history in the making and the start of progress in Long Grove again!  Admission is free, there will be food, craft brew, hayrides, music and lots of vintage shopping to do.

See you there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Adventure Awaits

Over the past week and a half, I've been summer adventuring-- but really, life adventuring. 

When I launched this little boutique and described the lady that Novel Nellie represents, it's no fluke that the aspect of adventure was included!  Though I love bringing you beautiful, unique and well made clothing and accessories of a variety of ethical sources, that clothing is not who I am.  None of us are the clothes we wear, or the style we don, we are what we use our breath, influence and gifts to do in this life!

Since early spring, I've known that the end of July was going to be full: full of joy, crazy schedules, travel and quality time spent with an array of lovely characters.  On the 24th I flew to San Jose to spend four days with an amazing organization that I love.  I had the opportunity to experience their day-to-day work, break bread with the founders, share in awesome conversation and even visit a good friend of mine in the process.  I arrived home with one day to spare before launching into my next adventure: an annual summer youth camp that I volunteer at, leading a small group of high school girls.  What an amazing weekend it was, full of laughter, tears and real talk about both pain and hope.

Life can be quite the adventure when we are out to love others, leave our expectations behind and embrace what awaits in the road ahead of us.  I can safely say that this even applies to clothes, in making a choice to shop ethically so that makers are treated fairly-- in that simple choice, we are contributing to a better tomorrow! :)

Do you have an adventure in loving others that you'd like to share? Send it to and you could be featured here on the blog! :)