Tag Archives: vintage

Chevrons and Gold

I’m drawn to Missoni-style pattern (despite not having any Missoni myself–well, not counting the Missoni for Target dress I got at a clothing swap). This dress, however, reminds me of a Missoni: colors, chevrons and all.

chevron stripes

Dress: Bebenoir
Belt: Steve Madden
Clutch: Shiraleah
Shoes: Cri de Coeur
Necklace: Herbivore Clothing
Cuff: Citizen Rosebud on Etsy

Now, what you don’t see is the texture of the dress. It’s a printed woven material, not a knit. So there are differences. I like it all the same. Plus, it reminds me of my fabulous trip to NYC last year, because that’s where I bought it.

orange and green dress

I wore the gold cuff I bought from Citizen Rosebud’s Etsy shop. One-of-a-kind, I’m afraid. But Rosebud always has great things in her shop, so check it out and see what you can find!

cuff, dress, cat

My Cri de Coeur gold platforms worked well with the dress, and I threw in a bit of brass with my vegan sailor-style pendant from Herbivore Clothing. Who says vegans aren’t stylish?

I’m joining Style Elixir, Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for linkups. See what everyone else is wearing!

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1950s Lucite Purses

One of the nice things about travelling with my parents is that we meet lots of people. I tend to “mind my own business” when I go out; for my parents, everyone’s a friend they haven’t met yet. Even in the Big Apple, they proved amazing people are around every corner. We met cabbies, waiters, artisans, shop keepers, designers, restaurateurs and celebrities.

So it was no surprise that while I popped into a pet supply store in SoHo, my parents were making friends with a shop keeper across the street. We were treated to a history lesson and tour of mid-century American style. Deco Jewels is an antique specialty shop dedicated primarily to vintage Lucite handbags. This tiny store boasts the world’s largest collection. The owner even wrote a book about it!

purse from the book

Carry Me

Lucite, sometimes called acrylic glass, is a modern-era material. It was first used for windshields and submarine turrets in WWII. Designers started working with it because unlike other types of plastic, it doesn’t yellow over time. You might have seen iconic clear Lucite tables and chairs. Lucite can be tinted too and is a great vegan alternative to tortoiseshell and mother of pearl.

lucite bags

Many were embellished with glitter and metal clasps.

gilttery purses

These two were made to look like caramel squares.

caramel purses

Holding a Lucite bag made me want to change into a fitted blazer, pencil skirt, and kitten heels.

Jean and purse

mom and purse

black lucite purse

The boxy nature of the handbags made adding secret compartments an option. This one came with its own lipstick and powder!

purse with makeup compartment

From Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Kennedy, high-profile, fashion-minded women in the 50s carried Lucite purses. By the mid-60s, fashions started to change. A proper, ladylike look was replaced with a relaxed, boho vibe. Despite not being a common purse today, people still collect Lucite bags. They’re museum-worthy, but they’d make a great fashion statement.

lucite on the shelves

The handbags range from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand. In addition to Lucite, Deco Jewels carries vintage earrings, necklaces, cufflinks and other American goodies from the mid-20th century.

more lucite

The store is small, but not cluttered. And despite its size, you’ll find yourself enthralled for a long time.

rows of lucite

If you’re ever in New York, pop by Deco Jewels at 131 Thomson Street (btwn Houston & Prince).

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Vintage Crochet Dress

I bought this dress at a bloggers’ meetup last year and realized I had yet to feature it on my blog!

lilac crochet dress

Dress: Vintage thrifted
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: Premier
Clutch: Seatbelt Bag via thrifted

A group of 10 or so Seattle Style Bloggers met for coffee and a walk through Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. We gravitated toward consignment, vintage and thrift stores. I couldn’t resist this dress.

I’d seen new crochet dresses (in fact, I have one), but the idea that this was an original made it even better. I’m not sure of its brand or age, but it’s a fun piece.

lavender and royal

Of course, being unlined, I needed a full-length slip. As luck would have it, I found one at another vintage store on “the hill.” I chose nude, but I bet a navy slip would look fun under this dress.

vintage dress

Do you have vintage pieces in your wardrobe?

I’m linking up with Visible Monday and Style Elixir today! Check out what everyone else is wearing!

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Mustard Tights and Stripes

I just adored the color of these tights when I saw them in the store recently. I decided to wear them with earth tones.

mustard tights

Cardigan: Smart set
Top: Swapped
Skirt: Red Light Vintage
Cuff: Lauren Harkness
Tights: Fred Meyer
Shoes: Frye via swapped

The tights stand out because of their high value (i.e.: brightness) but they still go with the orange and browns in the skirt.

stripes

Nothing in this outfit is a true match but I think it goes together nicely.

collage

I’ve been lusting after purple tights too (among other colors) but whenever I’m in the store, I forget what I already have so I don’t want to buy more until I do a tights inventory count. Do you wear colorful tights? What are your favorite shades?

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Vintage Swing Coat for a Rainy Day

This jacket is my oldest garment. It was my Oma’s. I remember greeting her as a child and giving her a hug while she had this coat on. She’d come to visit, hang up her coat, and get started on making something delicious like an apple cake.

vintage coat

My Oma probably bought this in the early 1960s, making it close to 50 years old. It was made in a time when Canada’s garment industry was booming. Not only was this “made in Canada” (harder to find these days), but the label said “made in Winnipeg.” I’ve never seen a clothing  label that listed the city on it (well, there’s DKNY and such, I suppose, but that city is part of the branding). This is a Modes Marcel by Brown Fashions.

jeans and a jacket

Jacket: Vintage Oma
Sweater: Old Navy
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Qupid
Necklace: eBay

I love the swing shape of this jacket and the cropped sleeves. I can wear it with dresses and pants. If it’s cold, I wear long gloves too. I’ll show you that look in the fall (at least I hope I don’t need gloves till then). And no, I didn’t cut my hair. Whenever I tuck it behind my ear, people think I paid a visit to the hairdresser.

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What’s Old is New Again

Can you believe in bought this dress in 1995? It’s been in rotation in my closet ever since. At the time, I was straight out of university so I needed an interview dress. After I landed a job, I wore it to the office on a regular basis. There have been years where it’s gone unworn, but I always return to this lucky dress.

lucky dress

Dress: Le Chateau
Tights: Target
Shoes: Seychelles

I’ve even worn this as a jacket by unbuttoning it and layering it over trousers and a sweater or a shift dress. It has a retro feel but is apparently a timeless piece.

Have you kept items in your closet so long that they’re almost vintage?

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Retro Striped Skirt

I walked into Red Light Vintage in Seattle’s U District a couple of months ago and this skirt was being steamed. It hadn’t even made it to the racks before I snagged it. I tried it on, fearing it would be too small. It fit perfectly. Twelve dollars later, it was mine. I love the angles of the stripes and how the panels are sewn together to create a flattering, chevron shape.

striped skirt

Top: Old Navy
Skirt: Vintage via Red Light
Necklace: eBay
Tights: Target
Boots: Wanted via Endless

vintage skirt

I wore it with a turtleneck and casual boots, but this will look good with stacked oxfords or dressy boots too. I’ll try changing the colors of my tights and top to create different looks. The colors are very autumnal but I bet you’ll see this a few more times on me between now and summer.

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Dress Up, Dress Down: Black Velvet

About the same time as the movie Blue Velvet came out, this dress was made. It was an amazing film: dark, disturbing, and fantastic. I was 15 when I saw it and it opened up my eyes to a world of movies I’d never heard of. I have been a fan of David Lynch ever since.

I didn’t buy my frock back then; I bid on it a few weeks ago on eBay. I made a video about how to buy vintage on eBay. This was one of those finds. It’s a Diane von Furstenberg. Unlike her signature wrap dresses, which I’m always outbid on, people don’t look for her other pieces as often, it seems.

I thought I could dress this up for dinner and a show. Something like this.

DVF dressed up

Dress: Diane von Furstenberg via eBay
Tights: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Manolo Blahniks via consignment
Vegan purse: Vamp Bags
Necklace: Forever 21
Cuff: Claire’s

I can also dress it down too, for dinner and dancing.

black velvet and pink tights

Dress: DVF via eBay
Tights: Target
Shoes: Swapped
Scarf: Labels Consignment
Earrings: Sears
Jelly bracelets: eBay

I wore this last night when I went dancing for part two of my 40th birthday bash. I had on blue tights and flats. (Dancing in heels on Thursday was tough. I can’t do that twice a week!) I’ll post pictures of the dancing outfit soon.

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How to Buy Vintage Clothes on eBay

I recently made a video blog (I refuse to use the word vlog) about how to shop vintage on eBay. I had a lot of fun turning my office into a studio, playing host, and editing my video.

I hope you watch it. Here’s a recap of what I covered:

  • Check the seller and make sure they have good ratings and reviews.
  • Use different search terms to find what you’re looking for (dress, shift, or frockvintage, retro, or original).
  • Look in different categories to find items with potential (women’s, men’s, vintage, 1960s, etc.).
  • Decide what price you’re willing to pay for an item and don’t go over that amount; it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy.
  • Consider shipping. The cost of shipping can make a deal, not such a deal. Other times, free or low shipping is an incentive to bid.
  • Look for different types of items from your favorite designers. (For example, DVF is known for wrap dresses but there’s always a bidding war for them. However, scarves and shirts are less in demand, and sell for less.)
  • Take your measurements and be honest with yourself. Don’t bid on something that isn’t going to fit.
  • Vintage sizes are different than contemporary sizes. I’m usually a 4 or 6 but in vintage I wear a 10 or 12. Look at inches, not garment sizes.
  • Buy larger rather than smaller. You can always have an item taken in. (Keep tailoring costs in mind though, since they’ll add to your costs.)
  • Consider how you can make an item your own. If it’s a good price, but dated, can you remove the sleeves? Change the hemline?
  • Pay on time so you made the seller happy, get good reviews, and keep your auction karma in good shape.

Do you use auction sites to get thrifty finds? What’s your best score? How have you made a vintage piece yours?

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Vintage Saturday Night Look

A few months ago, my friend Karthik was featured on this blog wearing an upcycled sari. She wore the look wonderfully. The tough decision she made before that event was which of her two vintage dresses to wear. Since she had two fancy events to attend, she didn’t have to worry too much; what she didn’t wear to her friend’s wedding-vow renewal she’d wear to the evening wedding.

Here’s the outfit she wore:

blue dress

Vintage dress: Oh Bella!
Ring and bangles: Vintage family heirlooms
Earrings: From Houston’s Mahatma Gandhi neighborhood
Vegan shoes: Bandolino

I helped Karthik put this outfit together (even though she was doing fine on her own). We talked about a few style issues. Karthik wanted to wear some of her own wedding jewelry with the outfit but was advised against mixing blue and green. I said go for it! Her family heirloom jewelry included emeralds and was a terrific touch. The cool tones went well with the dress.

Here’s a closer look at the jewelry she wore with the dress, along with how she first styled it at her wedding.

vintage jewelry

Karthik wore the same earrings as she wore to her wedding, and the ring on her right middle finger is the same. Her ruby wedding band is on her left ring finger every day. She kept her wrist minimally adorned by choosing only two  bangles from the assortment she wore to her wedding.

The other style issue was choosing shoes. We talked about metallics, which would have worked, and we talked about “nude” shoes. Since Karthik’s jewelry added enough sparkle, she chose nude. The challenge was finding a neutral tone that worked with Karthik’s skin tone. Luckily zappos.com has a great selection and an excellent return policy. Karthik bought a few pairs, tested them for comfort, style, and color, and landed on this great peep-toe with a kitten heel.

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