Friday, November 25, 2016

So thankful to so many

I am so very thankful for all my wonderful followers, customers, readers, colleagues, and friends in the world of vintage. On this day after Thanksgiving, my deepest appreciation to each and every one.

This year, my husband and I are celebrating Native American Heritage Day today, in appreciation to the most courageous people in the country right now, the Standing Rock Reservation protestors.

A Young Ute Woman, 1880-1900

America, I Sing Back

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, 1958
for Phil Young, my father, Robert Hedge Coke, Whitman, and Hughes

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.

Sing back the moment you cherished breath.

Sing you home into yourself and back to reason.

Oh, before America began to sing, I sung her to sleep,

held her cradleboard, wept her into day.

My song gave her creation, prepared her delivery,

held her severed cord beautifully beaded.

My song helped her stand, held her hand for first steps,

nourished her very being, fed her, placed her three sisters strong.

My song comforted her as she battled my reason

broke my long held footing sure, as any child might do.

Lo, as she pushed herself away, forced me to remove myself,

as I cried this country, my song grew roses in each tear’s fall.

My blood veined rivers, painted pipestone quarries

circled canyons, while she made herself maiden fine.

Oh, but here I am, here I am, here, I remain high on each and
     every peak,

carefully rumbling her great underbelly, prepared to pour forth

and sing again I will, as I have always done.

Never silenced unless in the company of strangers, singing

the stoic face, polite repose, polite, while dancing deep inside,

Mother of her world. Sister of myself.

When my song sings aloud again. When I call her back to

Call her to peer into waters, to behold herself in dark and light,

day and night, call her to sing along, call her to mature, to

Then, she will make herself over. My song will make it so

When she grows far past her self-considered purpose,

I will sing her back, sing her back. I will sing. Oh, I will—I do.

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.

Copyright © 2014 by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Originally published in Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

the PINK HEART shop

As you probably know by now, 10% of my sales go to Save the Manatee Club, for the protection of this beloved endangered animal. I am thrilled that so many of you are eager to help this great cause!

In addition, starting today, there is a section within my Etsy shop with 25+ vintage fashion items. When you purchase any items from The Pink Heart Shop, 100% of your purchase price goes to Dress for Success Worldwide.

Dress for Success is a top-rated international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to almost 145 cities in 20 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 925,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.

Visit the Dress for Success website for more information about this fantastic organization.

Visit The Pink Heart Shop and come back often to see what’s new.

Call it a fight for the metaphorical pantsuit—after the U.S. election, I feel compelled to do something for the empowerment of women.

Fashion by Rodier Paris, 1971

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Manatee Hugger is back to tell you...

It is Manatee Awareness Month! Of course you’re aware of manatees all the time, right? But this is the time of year in which manatees move from their warm weather haunts to their winter spots. These natural warm springs and power plant effluents don’t just make manatees more comfortable—as a sub-tropical species, they need water above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive. As the animals move closer to the shore, there are inevitably more human-caused deaths and injuries to manatees, so this is the time to go all in for manatee awareness and protection.

See Save the Manatee Club’s Free Resources for Manatee Awareness Month for information and ideas for taking part.

A suggestion from me: Wear vintage fashion.

—Wait, what?

Not only do you contribute to a greener planet by recycling fashion instead of buying it new, but you can specifically help manatees by purchasing vintage fashion from me! I donate 10% of all denisebrain sales (not profit, but sales) to Save the Manatee Club. I began this on September 7, International Manatee Day. Yes, manatees have several appreciation days and months—they deserve it because there is so much to appreciate!

Save the Manatee Club photo by David Schrichte

And, may I suggest that in the gut-wrenching turmoil of these election season days, nothing could be more calming than watching healthy, safe, contented manatees on the Blue Springs State Park Manatee Cam (aka ManaTV)?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Does vintage clothing make you feel like you’re wearing a costume?

We’re coming up on Halloween, a time when many vintage clothing shops see an uptick in sales for looks that spell flapper, mod, Downton Abbey, Titanic, hippie, pin-up girl and Mad Men.

If you want to go with a full-blown vintage look walking down the street during the rest of the year, I salute you! Many, though, fear the looks and questions at our workplaces, schools, and even home. But there are ways to make vintage look right at home on any day of the week.

Vintage clothing does not
need to look like a costume—
unless you want it to

The easiest way is to not try to overly coordinate a complete vintage ensemble, at least for starters. Show your love of the 1920s vibe with a gorgeous piece of jewelry or flapper handbag. Believe me, you will get the compliment: That vintage [fill in the blank] is so great!

Wear a beautiful 1950s coat to work. Carry a vintage handbag with your modern dress. Maybe on some occasion, you’ll feel like putting them together. But for now, give one or another a try.

And speaking of Halloween—


Find this pumpkin image in one of my Etsy shop’s item photos, send me a message (just a simple “found it!” is fine) from the listing page, and I will send you a $10 coupon code to use as a discount on a purchase of $11 or more. The code will be good through the end of November, 2016. [Hint: The pumpkin isn't in the first photo of the item.]

By the way, what will you wear for a Halloween costume? Who knows, I may even be concocting some vintage spells as a mad scientist (bwa-ha-ha!)

Monday, October 17, 2016

The contents of a vintage pocket and the dating of vintage

I have a box of interesting items found in vintage pockets and purses. I’ve never found the elusive hundred dollar bill or diamond ring, but there have been lots of tickets, invitations, candies, notes and handkerchiefs...even a citation for prostitution! 

Last week, I found these in the pocket of a beautiful 1970s Pendleton coat—

The date on that lower right coupon? 1979. (Just for fun, I tried to use the coupon at my local Fred Meyer yesterday, and raised a minor ruckus!)


Just a few weeks before I came upon this groovy bag—

If you look very carefully, you can see dated signatures on it. I’m picturing the end of a high school year and friends signing each other’s yearbooks—only in this case, it was her bag.

This dress (in my Etsy shop), came with a note attached—

As did this hat—

This linen clutch bag is a veritable time capsule, with its contents dating from 1940 and 41. 

I wish all vintage pieces had a date somewhere on or with them!

Two vintage labels I have found to have dates at least during some years of their history are B.H. Wragge—


and Marimekko— 

Union labels help with dating. Check out the Vintage Fashion Guild’s ILGWU page for photos of the labels used and their dates. I recently ran across the Cornell University ILR School webpage with even more detail on union labels and dating.

Maybe we should all attach a dated note to our favorite clothing—that, or leave a grocery store coupon in a pocket!