Monday, February 28, 2011

proof of thrift

Fuzzylizzie, whose The Vintage Traveler blog is always full of wonderful vintage eye candy and information, made a thought-provoking post on Friday about the sizes of women's wardrobes through the years. It got me thinking about my grandmothers', mother's, and my own wardrobe.

My own wardrobe is rather large--larger than I'd like, frankly. (Poor Andy would agree. His clothing is relegated to the spare bedroom closets.) My closet is nearly entirely full of vintage and/or pieces that have been thrifted. Nonetheless, it's overdue for an editing session (i.e. spring cleaning), and, I'm embarrassed to admit, contains multiple pieces that have never been worn (many of the "this almost fits and I'm sure it will one day" category). But it's mostly pieces I've worn again and again, and will continue to wear, again and again. Here's proof.

Me, last Thursday.

Nearly identical outfit. The sweater and belt are different. The haircut, too (still believe the shorter hair suits me best).

The occasion for this outfit was a night out on the town with Andy. We were headed to the Viceroy to see the Kent County String Band. Even though it's really dark, I love this photo of Andy in the bar with the old photograph and antlers behind him.

The band was really fun. I don't think you can go wrong with all-string versions of "Mack the Knife" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

i'm a big fan of my local library

It's militant
Not military
See we welcome everybody
We're not even scary
I'm a big fan
Of the local library
I just read a book
But that's another story

--British Sea Power, "Who's in Control"

I love it when a favorite band addresses a favorite topic. Another line I love from this song: "Sometimes/I wish/Protesting was sexy on a Saturday night." Yeah, baby! Can't wait to see them live in Chicago next month.

BSP are no doubt talking about the proposed library cutbacks in Great Britain. There have been protests and sit-ins in the UK. Will we see the same here in the US? I don't doubt we'll see cuts proposed; whether people will care enough to protest them is another matter. As the daughter of a librarian, who spent a good chunk of my childhood in the library, and who still uses it for 95% of my reading material, libraries are dear to my heart.

But forget my nostalgia and warm feelings: for many, the local public library is their only access to books, magazines, the internet--that most precious commodity of all, information. Most public library systems provide a wide variety of free programs to the public, everything from children's storytimes to computer classes and resume workshops. Even--and here's a sign of the times--foreclosure seminars. All for free.

I could go on, but I won't. Instead I'll share a few shots of a wonderful vintage book I recently checked out from my local library system. (You'll see the book actually comes from Muskegon's Hackley Public Library, which is not part of the Kent County system. But because Kent District Library is part of the Lakeland Library Cooperative, I was still able to request it and pick it up at my local branch. How cool is that?)

And here's British Sea Power performing "Who's in Control"--so fantastic! Check it out.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a pretty girl is like a violent crime

...if you do it wrong you might do time
But if you do it right
it is sublime

--Magnetic Fields, "A Pretty Girl is Like"

Here's a shop preview where the only discernable theme is: prints! And lots of 'em.

1950s mocha lace and peach taffeta wiggle dress.

1960s polka dot and stripes ascot-neck dress.

1950s mustard angora and lambswool cardigan, by Glasgo.

1950s rayon blend gingham dress with big button tabs and matching belt.

Bronze brocade Nelly de Grab maxi skirt.

1960s pink and lime green two-piece fleur de lis knit dress set, from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Bright yellow daffodil cardigan, by California Girl.

Stunning 1950s black satin and chiffon cocktail dress.

Blue sailor-ette print dress.

Teal chantilly lace skirt.

1950s sepia paint daubs print taffeta dress with mesh peek-a-boo neckline.

Blue willow print cardigan.

Wear it two ways--tie in back or front! 1960s woodcut windowpane print dress by Whistle Stop.

Floral chintz print blouse.

1960s chainlink print dress with bow at neck, by Nelly Don.

Diane Von Furstenberg scallop edge wrap sweater with sparkly Lurex thread.

1930s navy swiss dot muslin day dress trimmed in satin.


Monday, February 21, 2011

the chinook

Upon seeing these photos I asked Andy, "Why did you say I looked cute in this?" (It is--I think--common knowledge that we look different in photos than we do in the mirror. This has always been my experience anyway. And which is closer to reality: the photo or the mirror?) Andy said, "Well, you can't see the bow in the photo." (There's a little scarf tie at the neck of this sweater, which, yeah, you can't really see in the photo.)

Bow = cute.

I posted these photos (from Friday) anyway because it's the first time I've worn shoes (and not boots) outside the house in a few months. Friday was crazy windy. It was so windy, my first thought was of the Chinook winds in Colorado, which I always think of as the wind that brings spring. Though it wasn't that warm, most of the snow had melted, and I thought I could smell or sense spring in the wind. So I decided to wear these cute shoes with triangular cutouts for the first time.

We went to a movie and then stopped by a local bar with friends for a pint. The bar's power was out due to the high winds, but they had the place all candlelit, the taps were working, and we had cash. It was lovely--quiet and intimate. When the lights came back on and the jukebox started blaring, I was a bit sad.

This isn't Colorado, and there aren't any mountains and thus, no Chinook. It is Monday now and there is a good foot of fresh snow on the ground. Back to the boots.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

occupational hazard

(Thanks to the lovely Jessica of The Gray Bird, whose post today mentioning cuticles and dry winter skin inspired this post!)

I do not have pretty hands. I partly blame my occupation for this. When you are constantly handling and touching fabric, it saps the natural moisture from your skin and if you don't take care, you end up like me--constantly cropping your hideous cuticles and dry-skinned fingers out of photos of flattened dress tags.

But my hands are looking much better lately, having discovered the cure. Every evening (well, nearly every evening) once I've washed up I slather this wondrous Badger Cuticle Care on my hands and nails, concentrating on any dry areas. (How cute is he, that badger?) This has to be done at the end of the evening, as the balm is fairly greasy and takes awhile to sink in. But it works beautifully--after just a few nights of using it, my cuticles and dry fingertips are completely healed and smooth. And it has a lovely and relaxing scent, perfect for calm, end-of-day soothing, with essential oils of geranium, ginger, cardamom, rosemary, litsea cubeba, mandarin and lemongrass.

I'm pretty sure the first person to bring the Badger line to my attention was my dear friend Jessica of Now Smell This blog. (Thank you, Jessica!) Badger makes balms for every purpose, and the Cuticle Care seems to work especially well. You can order from the Badger website, though I like to purchase most of my natural skincare stuff at, where it's usually a bit cheaper.

(Oh, and in the sake of full disclosure--there's nothing to disclose. I buy my own Badger products and no one from Badger has ever asked me to review or talk about their line, nor have they sent me any free products.)


Friday, February 18, 2011

you were my glass menagerie

...Did you not find that odd
I dwelt within and went without
and broke my virgin flesh
I performed acts of devotion
as if you were Ganesh, but
now I'm crazy for you but not that crazy
I'm crazy for you but not that crazy

(See, I'm still working in those magnificent Stephin Merritt 69 Love Songs lyrics! He makes it so easy.)

I thought I'd preview a couple really cute 1970s novelty animal sweaters that are coming to the shop shortly. The elephant one (Ganesh!) is particularly cool. I love how his tail goes up and into the V of the neckline. And there's even an extra baby elephant on the right cuff.

The little terriers on the red sweater have silvery tinsel woven through their muzzles.

Already in the shop are these critters: Scottie dog sweater.

Tooled leather deer wallet.

1970s rooster print men's shirt.

Vera Neumann butterfly print scarf.

And a very fancy spider pin!


Friday, February 11, 2011


People who associate colors with certain numbers or letters are known as synesthetes. Synesthesia takes other forms (and you can read more about it here, on the Wikipedia). I don't think I'm a synesthete by nature, but I've been thinking for awhile that it would be fun to combine two of my favorite things--vintage clothing and perfume--in a blog post. The most obvious way was to take a few favorites from my perfume collection and find items on Etsy that evoke the scents for me.

Below is a photo of my perfume tray which holds some of my current rotation of favorites.

1. 10 Corso Como. This is a dark, smoky sandalwood. I think of it as a "serious" scent--there's nothing playful about it, though I do find it comforting and a bit cozy. This military-inspired Emanuel Ungaro dress from allencompanyinc is serious in style and cut, but there's something cozy and comforting to me about wool and about the dress' soft colors.

2. Black Cashmere by Donna Karan. Intensively spicy and woodsy scent (in an uber-cool modern-minimalist laydown bottle). Though called "cashmere," it's not soft, but rather luxuriously warming and dark--like this faux fur coat from swaneegrace.

3. Parfumerie Generale's Cadjmere 18, however, lives up to its name as a milky vanilla and woods blend with a decided note of orange peel on my skin that keeps it from being cloying. It is soft and comforting, just like this cozy cashmere sweater dress from Lolavintage.

4. Lorenzo Villoresi is probably my favorite perfumer, and his Piper Nigrum, one of my early favorites, remains at (or near) the top of my list. Though mainly a black pepper scent, it is rounded out with quite a lot of nutmeg, making it a scent at once cozy, spicy, and sparkling--just like this beaded knit outfit from DearGoldenVintage.

5. Dzing! by L'Artisan. This weird yet wonderful scent is my all-time favorite and my most-worn scent. It was inspired by the circus and smells of leather, sweetness, and a touch of animal. These great leather oxfords from dahlilafound encapsulate Dzing! for me: stylish, goes great with anything, and hardworking.

6. Balmain Ambre Gris. This is probably one of the least "me" scents of my collection. I admit (shamefacedly) that I broke the first law of perfume-buying, and bought this unsniffed, based on some online raves, the beauty of the bottle, and the fact that it was being sold at a deep discount. I was pretty sure the touch of tuberose in the notes would make it something I'd trade away immediately. Quite the opposite! This is a big, sweet, amber-spice scent, and that touch of tuberose gives it just the right dose of femininity. I love it, and wear it yearlong, but just a single spritz to the back of my neck.

This stunning Emma Domb dress from 13bees makes the same femme-but-not-too-delicate statement as Ambre Gris, I think.

7. I wish I had a better photo of my bottle of L.T. Piver Cuir de Russie, as the label has a charming illustration of a pair of Russian dancers. This is a honeyed leather scent. Actually, specifically, it smells to me of soft leather and beeswax candles, and is kind of how I imagine this wonderful leather coat from figandtwig smelling.



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