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!


Anonymous said...

I find the longer I do this the more attached I get to my items. Maybe my mom plays a big role because 1. She goes on these treasure hunts with me and 2. Due to her a lot of my memories are of items from the 70's and and prior. (I'm an 80's baby). Lovely is lovely. As long as we have a path from our room to the front door we should be good,right? (lol). Happy treasure hunting <3

Unknown said...

I'm just at the point of downsizing my collection now and I have to say it is breaking my heart! Even the things that dont fit have memories attached (drunken ebaying, purchased because i felt sorry for it, or purchased eith the intention to sell but realising it was just too beautiful). I think if i managed to pick up as many beautiful things as you do i would struggle so much to sell anything!

denisebrain said...

I believe the reasons I have any self control are 1. just so many things totally suit me, 2. I've been at it long enough to have gotten pickier, 3. I don't have a very big closet (or house for that matter), and 4. I know I have to sustain my business, and so I can't hold back too much.

It would break my heart to sell the items I currently have, so I feel for you Liz.

I like your 'as long as we have a path' principle Anonymous! I have the feeling my husband would not be in complete agreement...

Dina@VintageAdvantage said...

Every single one of the items you've kept look amazing on you and seem to suit you perfectly! I keep a few things here & there, as well, and for generally the same reasons...fits me perfectly, has major flaws, etc. Back when I used to make my living as a painter, a wise older friend told me that an artist should always keep the best piece from any given series or body of work. That way your family or "estate" would end up with the best collection of your work. In some ways, I feel it's like that...the dealer should have the best collection, right?

denisebrain said...

Interesting point Dina—I think there is going to be a whopper estate sale when I go!

Laura S. Taylor said...

that green 40's suit is TDF! fantastic finds

Unknown said...

It can be difficult sometimes to part with items and I can relate so much to your post, owning a shop myself. I'm often amazed at my will power and my ability to lett items go and put them in my shop, even despite friends and especially my mom trying to persuade me to do otherwise. There are a few items I do end up keeping, for much the same reasons as you. I found a vintage Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress a couple of weeks ago and it fits like a glove. I hardly keep anything for myself that when a friend told me to treat myself, I thought why not!? It's a fabulous dress and I've been getting loads of compliments on it, so I guess at the end of the day it's good for the store too, since it's a great opportunity to mention my shop and what I do!

Laura Loew said...

Wonderful post Maggie! You look so happy in your 'keepers' and they suit you to a tee. I also struggle with what to keep and wind up keeping most of it. . . lately trying to downsize a bit. Still wearing and loving the 50s purple velveteen coat I purchased from you as well as my many other special finds. Hope you have a great summer. Laura, lostinthepast

Anonymous said...

LOVE your blog! its so cute :) im a huge vintage follower. look at mine if you have time

denisebrain said...

If I had a brick-and-mortar store, I would definitely keep and wear more items to give customers an inspiration for wearing vintage. As it is, I tend to carry business cards, and tend to pull out cards when I'm wearing vintage!

Jo, a DVF wrap dress fitting perfectly sounds like perfection to me, and a great way to "show how it's done."

Hi Laura, I'm happy to see you! I'm glad you still enjoy the purple coat! That's part of what makes it possible for me to sell things I personally love...knowing others will love the items too.

Gladys said...

What can I say? I totally understand why you decided to keep them all. They look as if they were made especially for you. Love them all. Thanks for sharing!