Wednesday, April 29, 2015

If you want to get dressed up, get dressed up!

Last week I posted one of my fashion shows on Facebook. This one was all about dressing up in vintage.

I posted this theme because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say “I love this, but I would have no place to wear it.” And I say, let’s make places to wear things that make us happy. I got a lot of agreement from others on this, and ideas.

Did you know, for instance, that there actually IS a small but growing dressing-better-to-work day with its own hashtag? #fancyfriday is the name.

Facebook reader and vintage maven Jessica shared her photo of a #fancyfriday dress (“Designed by Blauner for Bonwit Teller label, which I believe was by Evelyn Dawson, the designer for Suzy Perette.” Yes, she’s really a vintage fashion maven! Check out her blog at No Accounting for Taste.) Isn’t she a gorgeous sight? 

We have reasons to dress up, yes? Just a dozen:

1. DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) meetings, as Facebook reader Leigh Anne mentioned. The women love history and love seeing her vintage fashions.
2. Any historical society gathering: Think museum exhibits, boards, historical preservation groups.
3. “Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it.” - Lady Duff-Gordon
4. Dress for the every day theater of life like you are the leading lady.
5. All your regular clothes are dirty.
6. Go to an historic hotel for a drink.
7. “Life is a party, dress like it.” - Lilly Pulitzer
8. “It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” - Hans F. Hansen
9. “If you're sad, add more lipstick and attack.” - Coco Chanel
10. Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.
11. #fancyfriday
12. You will make people happy...maybe most especially yourself

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Aid for Nepal

I am devastated, as I’m sure you are, by the news from Nepal.

Through Tuesday, I will devote 50% of my sales to GlobalGiving’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund.

GlobalGiving is among the vetted charities on the scene.

Our hearts go out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sweet 16 and even sweeter 45

Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day and the 16th anniversary of denisebrain.

On April 22, 1999, Earth Day was 29 years old and I sold my first vintage dress online. I wasn’t thinking “hey, Earth Day is a great day to associate with selling vintage clothing,” but it was my good fortune that the day coincided. I’ve always been interested in the beautiful recycling aspect of vintage clothing, so what a perfect day to get started.

Do you know how much you help the world when you don't purchase a new clothing item? To give one example, National Resources Defense Council states that just the water it takes to raise a pound of cotton (enough for one new t-shirt) is 700 to 2,000 gallons.

Some more good for the Earth:

Psst! Celebrate the 16th anniversary of denisebrain with a 16% savings in my Etsy shop. Just use coupon code SWEET16 through Friday, April 24

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Real women wear vintage skirts

My own most favorite vintage item could definitely be a printed cotton full skirt. Chicly classic or the center of do you skirt the issue? 

Watch for a new vintage fashion show theme tomorrow on Facebook and Instagram!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Real women wear vintage brooches

How do you wear your vintage brooch? This is how a few Facebook friends showed theirs off in the first Denisebrain Vintage Fashion Show:

Get ready for a new theme tomorrow, announced on my Facebook page!

(You may end up in my book!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The first denisebrain Vintage Fashion Show is here!

This week I am counting on you to parade your vintage brooches ~your~ way! Let's see how you wear them—are you classic or surprising?—Show us!

The photos on the left are from (top clockwise): ItalianIceDesigns on Etsy, Modern Kiddos blog, Hikari note on Tumblr,,

Post your photos on my Facebook page, or on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #‎dbvintagefashionshow

Monday, April 6, 2015

Introducing the denisebrain vintage fashion show!

Remember the Facebook album Real Women Wear Vintage Hats?  That was so fun and so inspiring.

So, starting this week, I want you to show us all how you do vintage!

Look for the first theme tomorrow...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Vintage convergence time again: 1956 Jantzen Tahitian Temptation

Ah, the mad delight of finding some vintage ephemera—an ad, a pattern, a magazine photo—that matches a vintage item you have in your possession! I call this a vintage convergence. 

This ad was particularly great to find, because the photos and copy are pure vintage breathless inspiration. But you know normcore was not a thing then. This ad uses adjectives like ‘dreamy romance-provoking’ and ‘dangerously lovely.’ The slogan is ‘Jantzen Makes All Girls Gorgeous’. 

The 1956 Jantzen ad is available from VintageAdGallery and the swimsuit is in my Etsy shop
Judging by this great cotton suit, Jantzen had a right to such a boast. Remarkably comfortable and figure flattering (you don’t have to look perfect to wear this!), the suit has made it since 1956 with its elastic perfectly intact.

Do you find vintage convergences too? I have a Pinterest board dedicated to these and I’ve recently had the treat of being joined in pinning by Joanna of the Dividing Vintage Moments blog. This woman is the convergence queen! Oh, and do check out her charming blog.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Calling modern-made clothing “vintage” is a disservice to real vintage

Please allow me a small rant. The term vintage applies only to items that were made at least 20 years ago. Why does this distinction matter? What’s the difference when it was made?

Just one example: I’m working on listing a dress, made in the 1950s to early 60s of heavy silk satin with blue velvet flowers. Designed and sewn in the U.S., it was sold in a local department store. The construction is couture quality. Can you go to your local store and find anything like this now? Does the first page of a Google search for “vintage dress” show anything like this? Are any of those Google-search dresses unique?

So maybe you don’t care if your dress is made fancily. I’m not a big label snob myself, but...

Are the new “vintage” dresses on the first page of Google using fewer of our resources? Were they made by fairly paid workers? Will they last?

Does any of this matter? I think it does.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A riddle for April

My latest theme is available now, and so are plenty of choices in a perennially fresh (non-)color combination!

{Click to view my animated April theme, sound up}