Monday, November 30, 2015

For the Manatees, my 2015 Holiday fundraiser

I love manatees.

The West Indian (Florida) Manatee was once plentiful around the coast of Florida, but now its survival as a species is in jeopardy. Humans are the gentle herbivores’ only enemy, with our fishing lines ensnaring them, our pollution poisoning them, our boats striking them and our living space encroaching upon theirs. Heather Sellick of the US Scuba Center wrote “the manatee is one of the most magnificent marine is also the one that tugs at our heart strings and reminds us of the great damage humans have inflicted on the creatures with whom we share this planet.”

Manatees are awesomely large, perfectly gentle creatures. How could anything so wonderful be at risk of extinction?

Manatees are intelligent (“capable of understanding discrimination tasks, and show signs of complex associated learning and advanced long term memory.” [Gerstein, E. R. (1994). The manatee mind: Discrimination training for sensory perception testing of West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus). Marine Mammals 1: 10–21.] They demonstrate complex discrimination and task-learning similar to dolphins and pinnipeds in acoustic and visual studies. [Marine Mammal Medicine, 2001, Leslie Dierauf & Frances Gulland, CRC Press]. The manatee’s closest land relation is the elephant, not the cow, despite their being called sea cows in many parts of the world. They are thought to have evolved from four-legged land animals some 60 million years ago.

Think about it: Manatees have made it 60 million years on the Earth and now their survival is threatened.

I know that many of you share my concern and love for the manatee. That’s why, starting today and going to the end of the year, 25% of your purchase price on any items you select from my Etsy shop or my web store will go to the Save the Manatee Club. If you don’t see any vintage finery to suit you during these weeks, I encourage you to donate on my YouCaring page, where every cent you give will be channeled to SMC. My goal is to raise $650, and with your help I know this is possible.

For the Manatees,

Photo ©Cora Berchem via Save the Manatee Club

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; 
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I am so very thankful for all my wonderful followers, customers, readers, colleagues and friends in the world of vintage. On this Thanksgiving Day, my humblest gratitude to each and every one of you.

This has not been an easy month for me, with two deaths in the family, my own health issues and 5 days without power and heat after a massive windstorm. The world hasn’t gotten off easy either. If anything though, I feel more thankful for all that is right and beautiful in the world.

As a small token of my appreciation I will include a unique, beautiful vintage scarf from my stash with your purchase through Monday.

Affection and thanks, Maggie of denisebrain

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Back to back black

My November theme is up, and...
{click to view the theme, sound up!}

I believe I have more black vintage clothing and accessories in stock than any other color—all eras, all prices, all styles. No doubt it has always been a good time to go back to black. 

30s vintage Fashion Originators Bullocks Wilshire gown & jacket in my web store

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Vintage convergence time again

I love when I stumble across a vintage photo, sewing pattern or artwork showing an item of clothing I have found...I call these vintage convergences. Here are two recent VCs:

1950s Koret jousting knight print separates. I have had the skirt and the blouse at different times.

Hand knit Mary Maxim totem pole sweater in my Etsy shop, and one similar, worn by Bob Hope in 1953.
Like these? There are lots more on the Pinterest board I share with a group of other Vintage Convergence aficionados—have a look!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Get the Look: Jean Seberg

Jean Seberg (1938-1979) was the most stylish French woman to have ever come out of Marshalltown, Iowa. In fact, she seemed to have been born in the wrong place, embodying as she did effortless Parisian chic.  She developed her iconic look in sync with her career.

Although Seberg’s first film, Saint Joan, was panned by critics, she gained the attention and affection of the French public for her portrayal of Joan of Arc, and soon she became the darling of French New Wave films, particularly for her role in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (À bout de souffle). If no one saw or heard anything else of Jean Seberg’s work, they would still have a strong sense of her style from that movie.

Seberg’s life turned tragic after being blacklisted by the FBI for her support of the Black Panther Party (among other organizations devoted to civil rights, the others not controversial). She was insidiously “neutralized” (the FBI’s term) and it is assumed her death of a barbiturate overdose was suicide. She was then 40.

Perhaps the tragedy of her death makes Jean Seberg’s life, work and iconic style even more dear.

Jean Seberg, c.1958-60: Above all was the perfect pixie cut on the perfect girl for a pixie cut.

There was the fresh look of pared down makeup, light on the lipstick and without the usual heavy-lidded eyes of the time.

In button down shirts, straight pants and oversized sweaters, Seberg looked the perfect gamine.

With Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless

Her sporting, boyish, youthful looks presaged the Mod aesthetic of the mid 1960s.

Accessories were mainly kept to rounded cat eye frames, simple scarves and here and there a hat.

Unmistakable were the Breton stripes...

...and the simple, clean, modern aesthetic.

Jean Seberg didn’t always wear her hair in a pixie cut, she didn’t always wear stripes, her roles were not all youthful—but this is her time, place and style that seem to reach right out of photos, fresh as new. This is the eternal Jean Seberg.

Dress by Givenchy for Seberg’s role as Cecile in Bonjour Tristesse, 1958

Inspired by Jean Seberg, a collection of vintage items on Etsy:
Click to view these and more on Etsy