Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Peggy Guggenheim, eye-conic original

There is a lot to be said about the life of Peggy Guggenheim. Supreme art collector, bohemian and socialite, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912, and the niece of philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim. Among her artistic friends were Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Jean Cocteau, Geer Van Velde, Alfred Steiglitz,  Georgia O'Keeffe, Constantin Brancusi, Janet Sobel and Robert Motherwell. She gave Wassily Kandinsky his first-ever London show, then an exhibition of contemporary sculpture featuring works of Henry Moore, Hans Arp, Brancusi, Alexander Calder and Anton Pevsner.

On this the 116th-anniversary of her birth, let’s focus on her glasses. She wore amazing sunglasses. Her most famous pair was designed for her by the artist Edward Melcarth.

Feeling iconoclastic? Consider your frames. Some choices on Etsy:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LBVDs on Etsy

Being a vintage wearer, I appreciate very much a great black vintage dress. As a vintage seller it has always been a slightly different story. Black is hard to photograph—black velvet is borderline impossible, at least for me.

I had to take some time to look at LBVD (Little Black Vintage Dresses) on Etsy because you really have to look hard to see details in the photos. Flash makes things clearer but is not aesthetically preferable. What to do if a photo is inscrutable? Pull the image onto your desktop then lighten it up in a photo editing program.

Take a look here. These are all wonderful looking black vintage dresses, and the photos are fine, but it is still hard to see the details without some adjustment. Bringing up the brightness but possibly lowering the contrast can help with discerning more detail.

See those great dresses and more of my LBVD picks in my Etsy favorites list.

All of these are winners to me, but the ones that make me gasp?

Dorothy O'Hara dress offered by GeronimoVintage
Cocktail dress from thegreedyseagull

Race you to them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Transform yourself Part II

Did you guess right? For me, some of these style icons were more easy to channel than others. I suppose next time I try Audrey I should go with a black turtleneck, cigarette pants and flats. 

Do you ever use a famous person as inspiration for your style?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Transform yourself

You know those celebrity look-alike sites where you can find out which famous person you resemble? I honestly have gotten two deceased Asian (male) dictators as my matches.

I know I can do better than that!

One of my favorite things about vintage clothing is the opportunity it offers to transform oneself. I don’t personally want or try to exactly match a famous person, but I love trying to capture something of them for my vintage clothing photos. 

See if you can tell who was the inspiration for each of these photos. (Answers tomorrow)

Friday, August 8, 2014

So maybe it’s too hot for wearing black, but—

It is my sworn resolution to find or decide upon the perfect go-to black dress during the month of August. I ask myself these questions, but I’d rather hear your answers.

Do you believe the perfect Little Black Dress exists?

Well, it definitely exists on certain people at certain times. I have no trouble calling these perfect:

Do you think it would take more than one dress to fill out your definition of “perfect”? 

I think if I could find just one great black dress that would do for me.

How do you define LBD? 

Besides being black? To me it has to be simple enough that it looks timeless and can be accessorized, and it must be absolutely flattering.

Could it be vintage and if so what era?

I think it could be any era from Chanel in the 1920s through Prada in the 1990s.

Can you picture it or do you own it? Have you ever owned such a dress?

Yes I have a dress that I would call the ultimate LBD for me, 1960s-era with a low, square neckline in back along with four rhinestone buttons. The bodice front is plain. The skirt is above-knee-length and flaring. This has always been a very flattering cut on me, but I think it looks a bit short on me now.

A man came up to me while I was wearing this dress some years ago and said that I looked like the cover of Vogue (*blush*). Today, someone said my outfit (vintage items of course!) was very beautiful. I believe the perfect LBD elicits a comment on the wearer while the great outfit gets noted for itself.

Where would you wear it?

Essentially anywhere that an impression needs to be made with confidence. I think of the great LBD as something that transcends time while making the wearer feel confident and beautiful.

Now you: Do you have answers to these questions? Do you have your dream LBD?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spokane’s hottest summer in recorded history...

...was not this summer, this summer is the second hottest since records have been kept. The hottest was 1906, which immediately made me think of what one might be wearing during the summer of 1906. The corsetry would be tricky on these 100+ fahrenheit days, but the parasols, white cotton and big hats could be good.

These first three photos are by Edward Linley Sambourne. If you haven’t seen the photos by the amateur photographer, please google his name to see them all. They are exceptionally candid for the era. It turns out there was a heatwave in England during August and September of 1906, which drove people to the seaside.

I love to think of this croquet champion conquering the heat in her fine white cotton.

This girl (in another of Sambourne’s photos) would need to have good balance with that hat on her bicycle.

“Afternoon frocks are of filmy materials” perfect for a garden party on an extra warm day:

Some styles suitable for summer clothes, according to Ladies' Home Journal in 1906:

These women are dressed to the nines in their summer finery:

A girl more humbly turned out in the summer of 1906:

If I were living through Spokane’s very hot 1906, I would want to go to Davenport’s to sip something icy:

But I think I’d be most eager to get home to slip into something like this:

Monday, August 4, 2014


This is the time of year when most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are warm (or hot) and could use a break.

First, if you don’t keep track of denisebrain on Facebook, I invite you there now for a cool break on vintage clothing.

Second, check out my August theme, which is fashionably late this month...appropriate to the theme:

click to view, sound up for Ella

Friday, August 1, 2014

The perfect Little Black Dress?

My August vintage resolution (determined way back in January) is to find or decide upon the perfect go-to black dress.

Do you believe it exists?

Do you think it would take more than one dress to fill out your definition of “perfect”? Maybe you would never consider an LBD the perfect go-to item...what’s your single most perfect item?

How do you define LBD? Could it be vintage and if so what era?

Can you picture it or do you own it? Have you ever owned such a dress?

Where would you wear it?

I’m asking because I don’t know myself! I’m on a quest.