Saturday, February 5, 2011

Save the matching set!

1944 purse and shoes set from the Bata Shoe Museum website

Every now and then I feel compelled to plead the case for an endangered vintage item (Save the maxi dress!, Save the umbrella!).

Once while shopping at a vintage clothing store I found a 1950s dress I really liked. While looking at the jackets on another rack, I found a mate to my dress. Excited, I took the two up to the counter and thought I was telling the salesperson something wondrous, that there were perfectly matching items that had not been put together by the store...but I had reunited them!

Then she told me, sympathetically, that outfits are the kiss of death. Jackets are separated from dresses and skirts, shoes from purses, because people would never wear these together and wouldn't consider buying them together.

I bought the dress and jacket and went away shaking my head at the apparent lack of imagination that would make an outfit so unwanted. With a great pair of items you have the option of wearing them separately of course, and I realize that can be more modern. Frankly though, I am always looking for things that seem fresh in fashion and what could be fresher than something not everyone is doing? Matching items can look more formal, but there are times when that sort of put-together is just the thing.

Why break up a perfectly great relationship, especially after its been intact for up to 50 years and more?

Top & skirt from Mod Chic Vintage on Etsy

Purse and shoes set from JessJamesJake on Etsy

From my own web store, a 1960s silk dress and coat


Past Perfect Vintage Clothing said...

oh yes, there are stores near us that routinely break up the sets. It makes me so sad.m

denisebrain said...

Sad indeed. It occurs to me that I even bought that silk dress and coat pictured as separate pieces at a vintage store.

girlie girl vintage said...

I always look for 'the mate' if it looks like it may have had one at one time. Some stores separate them, but shoppers do to. Many times I have expected to pay for set pieces separately, only to be happily told 'oh that was a set' with a nicer price.

denisebrain said...

That can happen too, but I personally haven't seen it so often except at charity/thrift stores.

I remember once finding three Rudi Gernreich pieces at a 2nd-hand store, all part of a set, priced separately. If you know this designer, and the price I paid, you'd know the prices were steals as they were. The cashier told me they should all be sold together for the price of one alone.

Have you ever come close to fainting at a vintage purchase?

I put the rest of the money I'd expected to pay in their donation jar...still a steal!

Jitterbugdoll said...

There are a couple of stores here that do the same thing--it really makes me sad!

I found a fabulous 50s western skirt and bolero jacket that had been seperated, and told the cashier they were a set and should be sold together--her response was the same one you received. She did end up selling both pieces for one price though, and I have to say that the find and purchase price were definitely faint-inducing!

denisebrain said...

I'm glad your story had a happy ending!

Anonymous said...

I'm another who looks for the mates to suit pieces and dress/jacket pairs. They're so much more interesting together. Contrary to the belief of thrifts, our predecessors knew a thing or two about real style.

Anonymous said...

I'm another mate chaser! I once spent several hours in a ratty old thrift store trying to find the skirt to match a Claire McCardell jacket I found there. I even went back several times...