Thursday, September 29, 2011

Get the Look: Emma Peel

I think I may have seen one or two Avengers episodes as a child, and I remember how funny, bright and eccentric everything seemed. Fast forward to college when a fellow musician walked up to me and said I looked like Mrs. Peel. I stayed up to 2AM to see reruns of the show and loved it; I just had to know everything about Mrs. Peel and John Steed, my favorite of The Avengers.

Since then, even with a somewhat vague appearance connection, I like to think, act, speak and even dress like Emma Peel, at least some of the when I need to foil some diabolical mastermind. She is my heroine extraordinaire.

Emma Peel's fashions evolved in her 1965-67 stint on the show, starting where Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale character had left off, with pretty but rather conventional 60s clothing, and a solid dose of black leather. Then came inventive styles by John Bates, and later Alun Hughes. Bates created haute mod black and white get-ups, and mini skirts before they had become mainstream. Later she was known for wearing Hughes' bright stretch knit (crimplene) "fighting suits," used for her highly accomplished martial arts and fencing scenes.

Some items in my shops that seem good for both a karate kick and a glass of champagne:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall in Style at the Vintage Fashion Guild

Vintage Inspiration is here, and the news is that vintage is more and more inspiring!

Once again this fall designers are inspired by vintage fashion including the dash of the 40s and the pop of the 60s. Runway trends of velvet and shades of wine red are great for style seekers with a love for authentic vintage.

Click on the photo above for links to the pages of this feature.

Many thanks to the members of the VFG Site Committee for their work in putting this feature together. I'm the co-chair along with Mary of The Vintage Merchant. The other members working on this were Amy of Viva Vintage Clothing, Cat of Club Vintage Fashions, Linn of Linn's Collection and Sharon of Living Doll Vintage—and thanks to all the members of the VFG for their great photos interpreting modern trends. Big thanks to VFG member Christine Anderson of for the opening photo, inspiration for the design.

Monday, September 19, 2011

40s bag with stories to tell

This pretty linen clutch purse (a recent find) has a big carved shell button on one side.

What's inside fascinates me even more: A mirror, hairpins, a blotting paper, 2 hat repair tickets, a milliner's card, two store cards with furniture and drapery notes jotted on their backs, one flower shop receipt and a pretty extravagant bar tab. The dates are all 1940 and 41.

Roses and cocktails...have you ever just liked a person from the contents of her bag?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Spiegelman's iconic New Yorker cover from 9/24/01, and the twin lights memorial

On September 11, 2001, I sold this raspberry suit to a woman working in the Pentagon. A few days later I heard from her, apologizing for taking so long to pay, but she'd been very distracted by events. I don't even know how she remembered the suit at all.

I remember the reaction of the world to 9/11, particularly the raw, on-the-street reaction of ordinary people all over the world. To them, we were still an ideal. We were Hollywood, Mickey Mouse and Mickey Mantle, T-birds and T-bone Hawkins, Coca-Cola, Apple, Ella and Elvis, Martin King, The Statue of Liberty, great teeming New York, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, golden waves of grain, cowboys and Indians, the railroad, good public schools and libraries, Woody Allen, flight, baseball, front porches, the blues, purple mountain majesty, Mustang cars and horses, Helen Keller, Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe, Broadway, jazz, rock-n-roll, hip-hop, sportswear, white hats and silver spurs, The Alamo, the circus, buffalo and Buffalo Bill, the Bill of Rights, beat poets, Janis Joplin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the gramophone and the light bulb, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Thoreau and Emerson, Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson, Kennedy, FDR, Oprah, Bob Hope, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, emancipation, Muhammad Ali, the Smithsonian, the moon. We were hope. We were, as John Gunther reminded us in the 1947 Inside U.S.A., the craziest, most dangerous, least stable, most spectacular, least grownup, and most powerful and magnificent nation ever known.

That was what was attacked, and what remains. That is what is worth preserving and improving upon forever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vintage noir

It's a dark and stormy night in the big city.

Suddenly a woman screams!

Then there is the sound of running in the hall!

Where is the Maltese Falcon? And where did she get those killer shoes??

For the answers to these questions and more, who do you call? Who else but...

{click on image, sound up}