Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Don’t you keep anything?

I am asked quite often if I ever keep any of the vintage clothing I find.

I do, but not too often. When I do it may be for a sentimental reason, or because I am very fond of an item with significant flaws, or for the reason that I absolutely love an item beyond what I could ever earn selling it. 

Just now I took photos of what I believe is a 30s top and the second I put it on I thought uh-oh. I love this but I should sell it. Then I saw it has a couple of rust stains which are not minor, particularly if described and photographed in detail for the web.

It’s staying with me. 

Years ago I photographed this 1960s raincoat from an old family friend and then I realized it was my favorite thing my friend ever wore, remembering it from decades ago. I couldn’t bear to let it go.

This dress came to me in the first big lot of vintage clothing I purchased. I actually tried to sell it once but when it wasn’t won on eBay I realized it was meant to stay with me. It features on my business card.

This early 40s dress got out of being sold by fitting me to a T...and by having a major mended tear. 

I managed to ease my guilt over keeping this bright pink velvet Marguerite Rubel coat by finding another exactly the same to sell.

When I put this early 50s taffeta dress and wrap up for sale a friend of mine kept telling me DON’T SELL THAT. She was so convincing that I took down the listing for it and I’ve never regretted being talked into keeping it. 

This 60s linen dress by Carlye just makes me too happy. Keeping it is cheaper than therapy, right?

I think I paid a whole dollar for this 70s polyester knit dress. Polka dots and green are a double whammy for me, and I love that I can wash the dress. I wear it all the time.

I could devote an entire post to the vintage shoes, the 1960s brightly-printed half slips, or the green hats I keep for myself. I used to sell green hats but always got a lump in my throat, so I decided I should keep them. I sold this late 40s suit, but kept the tasseled hat.

Just reading about Claire McCardell made me love her, and when I went to a huge auction and was able to win plenty of great vintage designer items to sell (including another McCardell) I decided to keep this navy silk shantung halter dress and white-lined bolero. 

From the same auction, another souvenir, this one unlabeled.

And finally the 70s Patricia Lester Fortuny-like silk dress from the same auction. It has an irresistible tunic top, and tiny bag too. 

I shot photos of this Mod canvas raincoat, then saw the photos. I looked a bit like Emma Peel, one of my fictional heroes. Kept the coat.

And pretty soon kept an umbrella to match.

So you see how it goes for me. I’ve probably kept one in one thousand items, but a girl’s got to have something to wear!

If I change my mind about anything, I promise you’ll be the first to know!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My latest vintage convergence

I am always ecstatic to see a vintage ad for something I have for sale. The latest is one of the most charming ads I've seen; it looks like Textron Inc. commissioned the artist C.J. (Charlotte Joan) Sternberg to work for them in the 1940s.

In my search I ran across these

...and then there it was

My latest vintage convergence:

The Back-to-the-Dorm set by Textron is in my web store here

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get the Look: My Mother

Every now and then I highlight favorite vintage style icons, such as in my blog posts

Finding Marilyn Monroe
Billie Holiday, style icon
Get the Look: The Thin Man, 1934
Get the Look: Audrey Hepburn
Get the Look: Emma Peel
Dream Girls: Girl Groups of the Sixties

Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, I'm celebrating my very first favorite style icon. I've talked of my mother before (Flowers for my motherStyle ideas from my parents) but I'm devoting this post to her style alone.

Mama would laugh and blush at the thought of this. My mother did not consider herself stylish; she wasn’t particularly interested in clothing, but she most definitely had a discernable style, and it’s a style that influences me.

Born in 1920, she was in her twenties in the 1940s, and 40s style suited her and remained a lifelong influence on her. She was big on navy blue, plaid, good basics, scarves, gloves and generally what I'd call handsome clothing. She wasn't the frilly type. On the other hand she rarely wore trousers but preferred dresses. She emphasized her waist. She knitted, sewed and tatted, and I don’t remember her ever wearing a commercially-made sweater. I'm choosing to highlight my mother’s style in the 1940s and 50s, my two favorite decades for clothing and coincidentally when my mother was a young woman.

Have you ever noticed that people tend to like clothing from the era when their parents were young?

{The items with me in the pictures are for sale...just click on their captions to take you to the listings}

My mother in the 40s
There’s that waist emphasis and another simple and flattering dress
40s fern print rayon dress
Mama knitting
50s hand-knit cream wool sweater
Her ubiquitous white blouse, plaid skirt, and great shoes that (it must be noted) caused some havoc for her feet later
50s white cotton blouse
My parents, with my mother in the midst of creating something
40s navy gabardine suit
Mama in a plaid skirt, sporty jacket and gloves
50s rayon dress with plaid scarf and trim
I’ve always been convinced that every woman needs a classic coat
40s burgundy gabardine coat
...and a classic scarf
My mother in plaid again, leaning on my father’s MG. The jacket was most likely his. 
50s plaid summer dress
My parents on a ferry in 1956. I love the flowered circle skirt!
50s fish print circle skirt
My mother, very soon to give birth to me, with my aunt Marie and brother John
Happy Mother’s Day to all the First Favorite Style Icons out there!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Here comes the sun

There’s vintage fashion for warm weather this month at denisebrain! Please have a look at my latest theme for a little inspiration:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I thank you, the manatees thank you!

Because of your purchases in the last two weeks, I am able to write a check for $221 to the Save the Manatee Club. I know it will be used well!

If you like to add your donation to the cause, visit