Tag Archives: vintage

On the Road: I’ve Died and Gone to Vintage Heaven

7 Aug

In my last post, I shared with you the adventures I had at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, CA. If you haven’t already figured out, I’m a girl who loves to dig for vintage treasures. As long as it is productive digging. Digging through $10 racks of decent vintage dresses? Sign me up. Digging through thrift stores for hours on the slim chance that a vintage DVF wrap dress is waiting to be unearthed? Thanks, I’ll pass. It’s a game, a challenge, a treasure hunt. But there are times in our lives when you just want to appreciate someone else’s hard work and immaculate taste and be in the midst of beautiful things. So, for the second half of my LA getaway, I paid a visit to the Mecca of vintage couture, Decades on Melrose Ave.

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You may be familiar with Decades from the Bravo TV show, “The Dukes of Melrose” which follows owners Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos in their buying and selling and celebrity schmoozing that comes with owning one of the top vintage and couture consignment boutiques in the country. I had the pleasure of meeting Cameron at a fund-raiser luncheon in the spring where he was the guest speaker. He was cordial and made time to talk to anyone who approached him, but as someone who is known worldwide in the fashion industry, I wonder what he really thought of little ol’ Fort Worth. Nevertheless, I told him I was coming to LA and wanted to stop by the store. (He’s great to follow on Twitter, btw, you might even get a reply!) He said he and Christos would “roll out the red carpet” for my visit which of course got me super excited (yeah right, it was probably just left out from Rachel Zoe’s last visit).

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Cowgirl Museum Old Bags Luncheon
April 2013

The boutique is two stories with designer consignment items on the ground floor and vintage upstairs. It’s not a huge space and there are really only 6 racks of clothes up there, but let me tell ya, they are the most amazing 6 racks you have ever set your eyes on. One of the first pieces I spotted was a 60s classic Chanel tweed jacket. No biggie. $3000.

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1960s Chanel Metallic Tweed Jacket
Decades

As I’m shopping, Cameron comes out to say hi in his own flustered, “my life is crazy” way. He’s just returned from Paris Fashion Week (and the Chanel Haute Couture show) and it’s his first day back in the store in 3 weeks. That peon from Fort Worth feeling comes back over me and I “let him get back to work” while I continue making my way through the racks with now sweaty palms. Secretly I was hoping for him to say, “Let’s play dress up! What do you want to try on?!” and we would spend the next couple hours drinking champagne, taking pictures of me in whatever I could fit in to and having someone order us lunch in. In truth I was too damn scared to even take dresses out of the garment bags, let alone try something on.

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The Red Carpet Rack
Decades

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1970s John Anthony paillette mermaid gown
Decades

The selection and the quality of the garments they sell are seriously second to none. If I say I didn’t shed a tear, I’d be lying. The most amazing pieces are on one wall all in garment bags. One of my favorite gowns that was featured on the show, “The Dukes of Melrose” was a Christian Lacroix for Jean Patou Haute Couture 1987. When I saw it on the rack in all of its $20,000 glory, I couldn’t help but shake a little.

 

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The Lacroix!!!

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Christian Lacroix for Jean Patou Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1987

I wish I had been able to take a picture of the interior construction because you can honestly understand why these gowns are worth these prices. Anyway, I’m getting all construction geek on you. Let’s just say these designers are artists, and their garments are serious works of art. (FYI, it’s still for sale, you can buy it here.)

Sadly, I didn’t buy anything. But I left there with the same feeling you get when leaving a museum filled with great works of art. And despite what you might think, the staff there was really nice to a good ol’ girl from Fort Worth. So next time you are in LA, take some time to stop by and enjoy the masterpieces at Decades, buy something fabulous, because you deserve it.  Oh, and tell Cameron the girl from Fort Worth says “hi”. 

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On the Road: Rose Bowl Flea Market

27 Jul

I crossed a Bucket List item off a few weeks ago and made a trip to California to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

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I think I saw maybe 30% of the entire market, but let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. The market is held on the second Sunday of every month and it’s an easy early morning flight that gets you there with plenty of time to shop. Or so I thought. I flew in to LAX Sunday morning with the hopes of a celebrity sighting or two, but sadly, no luck. By the time I got my rent car and made my way out to Pasadena, it was 11:00. 4 hours. Should be plenty of time! HOLY CRAP. This place is huge!!

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Arial view. Courtesy of http://www.fleamarketinsiders.com

The market is separated in to sections by types of merchandise. Furniture, antiques, housewares, etc. Booths that sold vintage jewelry, bags, and some clothes were mixed in to the “Antiques” section and there were plenty to choose from.

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You know that sweet Fort Worth one came home with me!

Vintage carpetbags

Vintage carpetbags

I spent about 2 hours roaming around, not willing to commit to buying anything just yet. I mean come on, everyone knows the better prices are in the booths way in the back that cost less. So, I’m about to commit, to go back and find the booths with the Whiting & Davis snake necklace, the fringed leather jacket, the hundreds of tooled leather belts. And then I see this:

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More vintage? Seriously??

Seriously.  I only have 2 hours left and NOW I find this. How did I not know? (Note to self: That map they handed you when you walked in might have been a clue. Just sayin’.) By this time the mild California weather is beginning to look more and more like a Texas summer day with temperatures creeping in to the nineties. Find me a bottle of water and I’m good to go.

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One of at least 20 booths that sold vintage bags

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My friends, you have not seriously flea marketed for vintage until you have flea marketed at the Rose Bowl. Hundreds of booths. Bags, coats, T-shirts, dresses, belts, cowboy boots, even new crap that is “vintage inspired”. (Umm, why??) Kid in a candy store does not even begin to describe the overwhelmingness.

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Vintage T-shirts. 5 for $20.

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This booth was twice as long as you see here. Everything was $10.

I shop, I dig, I bargain, I spend every penny of my $200 cash budget (minus the $8 it costs to get in. Parking is free though). Trust me, I could have spent way more. Finally, by 3:00 I’m exhausted, starving and as I haul my trash bag full of treasures across the parking lot, I can’t quite remember where I parked my rent car, let alone what my rent car even looks like.  Fortunately, my hotel, food and a nap are only a few minutes away and as I drive there I’m already trying to figure out how and when I can come back. Wanna go?

Do You Muumuu?

9 Jul

It’s July in Texas once again, when the ultimate goals in dressing for the day are:

A. avoid having your thighs stick to the blistering black leather upholstery in your car.
B. figure out how to wear that cute halter maxi dress without a damn bra.
C. resisting the urge to run to Target in your bikini and cut-offs because you need more limeade for the margaritas*.

Yes, we know the people of Wal-Mart show us daily that there are far more major fashion faux-pas than wearing a bikini to Target, but seriously, we are better than that. I once caught my husband coming home from a quick grocery store run after we had been out at the pool all day in his fluorescent Hawaiian print swim trunks and a Tshirt with the sleeves cut off so the armholes went down to his waist. “Seriously? You wore that out of the house??” I was mortified. He was amused, and that Tshirt went in the rag bin the next morning. Who wins now??
So, I bring you, the muumuu. Not the loud, floral, housedress that can double for a tent muumuu, but the classic, true Hawaiian muumuu that will soon become your summer staple.

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The word “mu’umu’u” in Hawaiian translates to “cut off” because originally they were made without a yoke. They were long, simple dresses made from tropical printed fabrics that mirrored the Polynesian feel of the islands. When tourism to Hawaii began to boom in the 1960s, at the top of every woman’s shopping list was an authentic Hawaiian muumuu, and, if she could convince her spouse to oblige, an “aloha” shirt for him in the matching fabric.

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The most coveted muumuus were made out of bark cloth. A cotton/linen type fabric made from the bark of trees common in Asia and the Pacific. Popular brands included Hawaiian Casuals, Malihini, Ui-Maikai and Hilo Hattie, but any brand made in Hawaii is a real treasure.

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So, embrace the tropics and the heat wave, make yourself a mai tai and keep cool in your vintage muumuu. Mahalo!

*bonus! Best Margarita Recipe Ever
1 can frozen limeade
tequila
ice
orange liqueur (optional)
blender
Dump can of frozen limeade in to blender. Fill can to the top with tequila, dump in  blender. Add 1/4 can of orange liqueur. Fill blender with ice. Blend to desired consistency.

The Greatness Of Gatsby

22 Jun

If you haven’t seen The Great Gatsby yet, it is the equivalent of being dropped in the middle of your favorite town with a black AMEX card and 24 hours to splurge.  You are overwhelmed with sights, sounds, flash, opulence, excess. Baz Luhrmann is the King of over-the-top productions and this one does not disappoint. From the jazz/rap/ethereal sounds of the soundtrack from artists like will.i.am, Beyonce, The XX and Jack White to the extravagant sets that scream conspicuous consumption and eccentricity, the film never lacks in giving you something to absorb. Of course the fashions designed by Miuccia Prada and jewelry by Tiffany are reason enough for us to sit and drool in front of the screen for 2 hours.

Here are some of our favorite scenes from the movie, and from Carey Mulligan’s fashion shoot with Vogue magazine.

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Tom and Daisy’s parlor with the flowing curtains and Daisy’s frothy tea dress. We also love that Jordan is bold enough to wear pants.

ImageGatsby in Nick’s cottage after he had “a few” flowers delivered for tea with Daisy.

ImageThis scene made us fall in love with head scarves all over again!

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Of all the characters, Jordan was the one that kept surprising us in her costumes. Here, for their outing to the city, she is prim and proper in her dress, capelet, hat and bag. A far cry from the rebel who wore pants in the earlier scene.

ImageHere, at Gatsby’s largest party, she is daring in her cutaway halter dress with the low back. The hat she holds in her hand is actually a headband with a veil worn over the eyes.

ImageThe mayhem that was Gatsby’s parties.

ImageCarey Mulligan graces the cover of Vogue in this amazing chartreuse velvet gown from Oscar de la Renta and those jewels from Tiffany. GAH!!

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Oscar de la Renta Fall 2012

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Our favorite spread in the Vogue issue. Chanel Haute Couture sequin dress, headpiece by Julien d’Ys.

In these increasingly warm summer Texas days, it’s nice to be able to escape to the coolness of a movie theater. This movie will make that theater even cooler.

Did You Miss Us???

6 Jun

Yes, we are still alive over here in Vintageland. Forgive us for the extreme lapse in postings. We initially blamed Lindsay Lohan*,

Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor

but then that excuse got to be too old and then Christmas came and Kalen went to NYC and had loads of great material to write about, but then it was FWSSR time (Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo) here in the Fort and we were selling boots as fast as our little stuffing, polishing, pulling on and off hands could handle. Then it was kinda slow and we really didn’t have anything compelling to write about, and we kinda thought you had given up on us ever writing anything interesting or witty or fashionable again so we just let it go.

So, I’m sitting here inhaling nibbling on a J. Rae’s sugar cookie, aka crack with glittery frosting, and my afternoon cuppa tea feeling inspired once again to write. I’ll start with sharing my adventures in NYC in January. I went by myself, which can be a refreshing thing to do every once in a while.
A. You don’t have to share the hotel bathroom with anyone
B. No one rolls their eyes at you when you want to walk the 20 blocks back to the hotel
C. Spending 6 hours at the Flea Market bothers no one except the vendors that I continue to haggle with until I get the price I want
D. I don’t have to stop at every H&M looking for “that skirt” in my size
E. Avoiding travelling in large groups where someone is inevitably walking around with their jaw dropped at the sights and sounds of Times Square makes it a lot easier to get around and might actually get you mistaken for a local (oh yeah, I was asked for directions. Sweet!)

The Garage Antique Flea Market

The Garage Antique Flea Market

I did spend 6 hours at The Garage Antique Flea Market in Chelsea and it was like walking in to the best episode of Hoarders ever; minus the dead animals in the freezer and non-working plumbing. The flea market is housed in an old parking garage (2 levels!!) which is great because it is open EVERY WEEKEND YEAR ROUND! Vintage clothing (obviously), jewelry, furs, African art, housewares, handbags, furs, furniture, and luggage; everything you can imagine is here. And yes, if you are EVER in the market for a vintage fur, those dead, rich, NYC society ladies had closets full of them and you can get your hands on just about anything for a steal. Sadly, I did not come home with a new furry friend, but did find some amazing jewelry and a suede poncho. Most definitely a successful trip, I can’t wait to go back!

This is just ONE level!

This is just ONE level!

One of the best vintage shops in NYC

One of the best vintage shops in NYC

Copper Garden Statue

Copper Garden Statue

Scary Baby Doll

Scary Baby Doll

Another thing that surprised me on this trip was how friendly everyone was. An older gentleman at the flea market overheard me tell a dealer that I was from Fort Worth and he immediately told me that he also was from The Fort. He went to the same high school that my daughters attend and although we didn’t know anyone in common, it seemed he was happy to have a bit of Texas brought in to his life that day. Or maybe he was just flirting, who knows. Later that day, as I was waiting to cross the street, a group of cool, hipster dudes commented on my coat. Why yes, it IS vintage, 1970s Bill Blass! What’s that? Oh, thanks, it’s just something I threw on. I am wearing that coat every damn day. You New Yorkers with your puffy down coats got nothin’ on this Texas girl stylin’ in vintage. Seriously, it’s not even that cold.

Need a fur??

Need a fur??

Keeper of the furs, on his own Persian Lamb blanket, of course!

Keeper of the furs, on his own Persian Lamb blanket, of course!

If you can't afford the WHOLE fur...

If you can’t afford the WHOLE fur…

So, we promise, we are back. There’s a lot of Mad Men to catch up on and those always fun awards show red carpets. If there’s anything you’re curious about or would like us to write about, please let us know! We missed y’all!!!

For more info on NYC Flea Markets, go to http://www.hellskitchenfleamarket.com/home/

*Lindsay Lohan starred in the TV Movie Dick & Liz about the life of Elizabeth Taylor back in December. Our post was going to be about the fabulous outfits in the movie and how they made it almost worth suffering through the horrendous “acting”. Alas, after trolling the internet for 2 days looking for images of such fabulous outfits, we gave up and hence our 5 month long blogging sabbatical.

We Won! Sort Of…

9 Oct

We recently found out that we won the FW Weekly’s Critic Choice Award for Best Place to buy Cheap Threads. While we are honored to receive any “Best Of” award, I can’t say that this is the “Best Of” category that we were striving for the most. Best Jewelry, Best Vintage, Best Cowboy Boots, bring it on, we are totally ecstatic. But when your award comes with a caveat, it doesn’t quite feel as genuine or as exciting. The caveat, it appears for this award, is our clearance rack. As worded in the copy, “This is a vintage dress shop that’s only cheap by comparison—unless there’s a rack of sale outfits out front.” Cheap by comparison to whom, we are not sure. In comparison to ourselves? To our non-clearance priced merchandise? In comparison to any other non-vintage boutique? If that’s the case, I beg you to tell me where you can find a hand beaded wool sweater for $60 or a Neiman Marcus fur collar cashmere coat for $150.

1960s beaded wool sweaters

Cashmere coat with fur collar

Yes, the items we sell have been worn before. But they have also stood the test of time and are still around after 40+ years. I can’t say that will be the case with the “trashion” being procured today at places like Forever 21 and Old Navy. If you want “Cheap Threads”, go there because in 2 years, they will be just that, threads.

For far too many people, “vintage” is the same as “thrift”. It is cheap, possibly stained or ripped, and you have to spend hours digging through piles of not so great items to find that diamond in the coal. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dig. But the intent of Bess & Evie’s is to do all that work FOR our customers so you are presented with only precious stones, no coal. Anyone who knows me knows I am one of the most frugal shoppers ever. I NEVER pay full retail price for clothing or shoes from major retailers because I know how much the markup is. Knowing that, I am very conscientious about how I price items in the store so that my customers feel like they are getting a fair deal. I have to make money to survive just as much as the next person, but my integrity as a fairly priced retailer is far more important. Maybe that’s not the smartest business practice but it’s the truth.

Picking vintage at a rag house

As far as the clearance rack goes, yes, every once in a while I make a bad buy, and something I loved when I bought it is still sitting around 6 months later. Or a vendor gave me some coal mixed in with some gems, and when they don’t live up to my standards, out they go. When that happens, those items end up on the infamous clearance rack. But I still hope that someone finds that great 80s beaded cocktail dress for $5 and are thrilled that they found the deal of the year, just like someone else finding that fabulous leather trench for $75 and thinks they found the deal of the year.

The infamous clearance rack

At the end of the day, the adage “there’s no such thing as bad press” still is true. I had a customer come in just today who read about us in the FW Weekly and had no idea there was a vintage store even in Fort Worth. So, for that I am thankful. I guess even back-handed compliments can pay off in the long run.  But I hope that people will look beyond the clearance rack to see all of the carefully selected items in the store and find that treasure that’s been waiting for them.

‘Put a Brooch On it!’

22 May

According to Google, the brooch is the most coveted piece of jewelry, worldwide. Most people take them for granted today, however it never goes unnoticed when I wear one with an outfit. So why don’t more people wear them here? Is there some part of the country where woman still don these wonderful pieces of fashion? One of my favorite vintage shops in Minneapolis carries a slew of vintage pins, brooches, even those funny tag line ones from the eighties. Remember the days you covered your backpack in pins with funny saying, until the adult figureheads figured out you were making those snarky comments to them, via Jansport. So much for self expression in the schools.

Brooches and pins haven’t always been as much fun, or fancy. The origin of the brooch dates back to the loin cloth. Yes, I said it…the loin cloth. Obviously those cave men needed something to keep their boys from always making an appearance. And remember those kilt wearing Scots…well, imagine trying to make 9 yards of fabric stay put on your body with out a fastener in sight. I’m pretty sure they encountered the same problem those cave men did. The definition of a brooch is actually just a pin with a clutch back. It wasn’t until the 18th century that people found a way to make the brooch a fashionable item. It was the era of the gem that had brooches donned with diamonds, pearls, and other precious gems, hence the brooch we think of today.


Brooches were wildly familiar in the 50’s and 60’s, and almost always seen on a secretary with her work attire. Some are fancy and flashy, others meaningful. Don’t think that brooch bouquets are a new item either. Made popular again by Miranda Lambert, in her nuptials to Blake Shelton, they gained momentum and are currently offered by many designers, pre made. I even carried one in my wedding, but I made my own since I felt like it would mean more.
While I still feel the brooch is ever present in our daily lives, I still think it just gets dealt a crappy hand. Some think the brooch is just something your grandmother used to wear. Let’s not forget though, Grandma was one flashy and fashionable lady. In a world of fashion where everything old is new again, and there is no original thought in anything these days, why not bring back something as fabulous as the brooch. I’ve also seen the brooch worn as a hair piece, or barrette. But a brooch on a plain handbag and jazz it up. Instead of just tying your scarf, clip a brooch on to keep it together, and give you a looser, less uptight look. On a wedding budget? A brooch bouquet is a perfect solution, and even better, it won’t die in two days. You’ll have a wedding keepsake that will last your lifetime, and your children’s. There are so many reasons to own brooches, and so many uses for them. They are a fabulous piece of jewelry that can take your style up a few notches, and then some. Like I said, any time I add a brooch to my outfit, it never goes unnoticed. The brooch definitely falls in the hat category for me, as in I hear people say all the time, ‘Why don’t people wear hats anymore?’ I happen to think if you like something, you wear it. It doesn’t matter if people just don’t do that any more. You do it. And you look great doing it. That’s all that matters.

The Five Vintage MUST haves!

6 Mar

Every woman who loves shoes has her rabbit to chase. Christian Loubiton, Prada, Jimmy Choo. We all have that one pair in mind that we say ‘When I hit the lotto, I’m totally buying that (insert designer name here) that cost more than my rent!’ For vintage lovers, there are MANY rabbits we chase. Kalen is determined to own a vintage Chanel purse. I’m after a vintage Louis Vuitton purse, and at least one thing worn by someone famous in the 50’s or 60’s. So for this week I decided to introduce the top 5 things every vintage lover should own at some point in their vintage loving lives:

  1. A Vintage Fur!

Oh yeah, I said it! A FUR! Call PETA on me or whatever but everyone should own a piece of fashion history. Let’s face it, the animal has been dead longer than my grandmother has been alive. It’s not doing anyone any justice by being ignored, or not worn for “ethical” reasons. What’s not ethic is letting that beauty go to waste! I bought a Mink Stole for my wedding. I love that thing. It’s so soft, of course, and it even smells all vintage-y and good. I wore it on out over my wedding dress on our way home and got many compliments. It’s old Mink. His family doesn’t miss him anymore. They are all long gone too. But maybe not made of coats, God willing.

  1. An Alligator Bag!

The same goes for an alligator bag as the fur, except that lets be serious, we could use less animals that want to eat us in the world, right? Ever been chased by a mink or a rabbit, probably not. Ever been chased by an alligator? Not yet, but that’s because when I went to school in Florida they taught you how to out run one, just in case you ever did. I come prepared. Alligator bags are eclectic, they are always in style. They just LOOK amazing and a pleasing to the touch too. I could go on forever about an alligator bag, but just trust me, you need one in your life. I wandered around Minneapolis one Sunday in November and was lucky enough to run across a vintage Pierre Cardin Rattlesnake skin clutch. It was $12. I take that darn thing everywhere. When people are like ‘Oh my gosh I love your bag’, I say ‘Yea you do!’ We did have this amazing green lizard bag over Christmas that I just fell in love with too. Unfortunately it’s cheating on me with it’s new owner somewhere in the metroplex. I miss you Lizzy!

  1. Vintage Jewelry!

I am not picky here, you just need to own some vintage jewelry. Jewelry is just not made the same way it used to be. Vintage jewelry doesn’t fall apart after washing your hands in the sink, and it doesn’t turn your skin green. It actually has a weight to it. Yeah! I know! It’s mostly costume jewelry, but the good kind. The kind you can pass down, or you get passed down. It lasts generations, and most likely wasn’t made in China. There is nothing cooler than having a piece that you can brag about, and that no one else will be wearing because they sell thousands of them at Forever 21. What’s worse than showing up wearing the same dress as another girl at a party? Having someone say ‘Oh I love your necklace, I have it too. Forever 21, right?’ Trust me NO one stays 21 forever, and they definitely should not.

4.     One Vintage “staple” Dress

If you are lucky enough to be a size where vintage will fit you, make sure you get yourself a “staple” dress. A staple dress is a dress you can wear on more than one occasion that always looks good on you and everyone will envy. I have never had more looks and/or compliments than when I go out to eat with my husband wearing a dress from the store. Sure, he wears a collared shirt and jeans, but I always like to look my best. I don’t want him taking me out in public and being ashamed to be seen with me. Certain colors always look good on certain people. Certain cuts are the same way. A vintage dress that fits, thats remarkable, and probably one in a million. I’m not blessed with the most perfect shape and rarely do I find a vintage dress that fits me perfectly, but every once in awhile I do. And I buy it. End of story.

  1. And finally…(insert drum noise here)…Vintage Cowboy Boots!

I am sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it over and over and over until you completely agree. Vintage Cowboy boots are by far THE best thing to happen to the world since we found out that Snookie is pregnant and we get to make jokes for the next 9 months. The best part about vintage boots are the comfort. My mom hates cowboy boots. I’m not sure why, they pinch her feet or something, I can’t remember. She used to have a great pair of burgundy Wranglers. I thought they were awesome. She gave them away. Had she held on to them, by now they would’ve been considered vintage and have fit ME perfectly. Sometimes the story comes back to what’s best for me. I bought my first pair of cowboy boots almost 2 years ago. They are Tony Lama, 70’s, ostrich. They are amazing, and sooooooooo comfortable. Why? Because who ever owned them before me did all the leg work, literally. They are already worn in and fit my feet like a teddy bear hugging a baby seal all day long. I have since converted my best friend into wanting cowboy boots. She’s a hard sale. She’s picky, she doesn’t know how they are supposed to fit, and she’s against a skin of any sort. She’s a weird one, but I still love her. She got the bug recently because I got her friend a pair first, and she’s a little jealous. Buy your first pair of vintage cowboy boots and you’ll be addicted too. Or better yet, watch someone else buy a pair, and the bug will hit you.

Whoever or wherever you are in your vintage journey, just know the pleasure is in the hunt. So happy hunting you savvy vintage lovers. But remember, if you come between me and my dream Louis Vuitton Bag out there, just back away slowly.

The Official 2012 Oscar Fashion Recap

27 Feb

This is again one of the moments when I appreciate being a woman. It may take a few extra hours of hard work, a couple wiggles into some Spanx, and mounds of makeup, but the women definitely have the upperhand when it comes to Oscar fashion. To me, every man looks alike in their penguin suit. It’s usually made by Armani, and there may be a few small differences, but it took them all of 5 minutes to get ready and walk out the door. So please, sit back in awe and appreciate all the hard work that goes into getting Oscar ready as Kalen and I give our thumbs up and thumbs down to this years Oscar red carpet looks!

First and foremost I have to say that I loved the way Octavia Spencer looked in her Tadashi Shoji gown. She has been such a great character actress over the years and for her to be nominated for an Oscar this year and pull it off looking as classy as she did, I just loved it. There was definitely a lot of white and nude on the runway. This is definitely a trend that emerged slowly last year but is coming out full force in 2012. Be careful with these neutrals though ladies, not everyone has the right skin type for it. And if all else fails, as Maya Rudolph said, Shapewear.

While I would normally have nothing but great things to say about Rooney Mara, I do have to say I didn’t like the look she wore at the Oscars. She is so different and unique looking that for her to go with such a simple, just kind of hung there, dress by Givenchy, I expected, or at least hoped for more. While Nina Garcia drooled over her look, I was unimpressed.

Sequins and beading were a definite staple, as well as the large cocktail ring, and side-swept hair. I have to say I love the “effortless” look direction that hairstyles are taking these days. If you’ve ever tried to do any of these styles at home, you know they are far from effortless. I think they fair on the side of stress free, while also looking purposeful.

We also saw many diamond chokers, including one that Michelle Williams wore that complimented her coral Louis Vuitton dress. She is such a style icon for me. Her pixie hair cut, her ivory skin, and her unique fashion choices that make her stand out from everyone else. She is an Oscar winner in my book. And just about everyone commented on her bow brooch. I’ve seen this done the right way and the wrong way. This was definitely done the right way, and once again she wowed us all. Kalen’s favorite was of course the hot pink alligator clutch. You know crazy we can get about the skins!

Now while I almost never agree with anything Cameron Diaz decides to put on her body, her Oscar dress by Gucci was a win for both me and Kalen. She definitely has the body to pull off a lot of things, but sometimes her age doesn’t quite approve. The gown fit her beautifully though, and the ruffled hem with ombre beading was a nice contrast to the sleek fitted bodice. Kalen would’ve loved to see a pop of color in her bag, but otherwise, we agree, a flawless look.

Gwenyth Paltrow in Tom Ford, always a red-headed stepchild in the fashion world. You either love her or hate her, and most people hate her. She caught a lot of flack for wearing what most people called a cape. One tweeter said ‘What is she a super hero’? I have to say ‘What are you blind?’ Where did that so-called cape tie around her neck and flow in the wind??? It was more of a long formal wrap, or shoulder cover thing (insert smart word here, because I obviously have no idea what to call it!) I thought it was elegant. It reminded me of something you might see in early 20th century fashion, when women covered there shoulders out of respect and class. It was simple and understated. We all know Gwenyth has a reputation for being rather snobby, but I think the risks she taken in her fashion, as well as singing at the last Oscars, makes her a little more likeable. She has a style, and she stays true to it. Who knows, maybe after this cape incident you like her even less. I happen to like her a little more.

It makes us giddy inside when celebrities choose to go vintage on the red carpet, especially the Oscar red carpet. Natalie Portman has that petite Audrey Hepburn look about her and while we think she looks amazing in anything, she rocked this 1954 Christian Dior Couture gown. 1954 was the start of the Golden Age of fashion in Paris: Dior, Givenchy, Balmain, and Balenciaga were creating bold new looks and it’s so amazing to see this look fit in so well in 2012.

While we may not all agree with who the Academy chose to give Best Actress, Best Picture, or Best Costume (HA!), we can all appreciate the most important part of award season…the fashion.

Breakfast with Audrey

7 Feb

There is a distinct possibility that I love Audrey Hepburn more than you. There, I said it. It’s the truth. I have had a still from Breakfast at Tiffany’s in my room since I started decorating my own room. She had to go away for a few medieval years, also known as a previous marriage, but she is back and there to stay. I don’t know what it is about her. Wait, yes I do: the haircut, the tiny waist, the elf-like, adorably shaped face, the big eyes, and of course, every woman’s envy, the eyebrows. She is the only one I know who can pull off the short bangs too. Well, her and Rooney Mara.

Her petite frame inspired fashion designers including Givenchy to model their collections after her. Salvatore Ferragamo created a shoe for designed his 1999 collection after her namesake. Her “little black dress” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s was sold for just under one million dollars at Christies in 2006. Famed, fashion photographer Richard Avedon attributes some of his success to being able to capture her face in his portrait of the star, saying ‘I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record…’. These are just a few examples the reverence the fashion world has for the amazing star.

Born in Brussels in 1929 to a British born father, thought to be a descendant of James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a Dutch aristocrat, Baroness Ella van Heemstra. She was NOT the daughter of famed American actress Katharine Hepburn, although some still speculate that they were distantly related as 19th cousins, once removed. Audrey traveled between England, Belgium, and the Netherlands most of her childhood, and spoke fluently in each country’s native language. During her adolescence she moved to the Netherlands after her parents divorce, hoping to avoid the impending World War II invasions. If you ever paid attention in History class, but just in case you didn’t, Germany did invade and occupy the Netherlands. Hepburn’s family was forced to be split up, one of her brothers sent to a labor camp, while she suffered many difficulties during wartime. She struggled with malnutrition, respiratory problems, and anemia. Her health issues from the war would later affect her dreams of becoming a prima ballerina.

Having irreparable damage done to her body through wartime struggles, she decided to pursue modeling as a career choice, while also taking jobs in musical theatre as a chorus girl. A Paramount Pictures scout discovered her one day while performing on stage and offered her some small roles in a handful of pictures. Her first major role came in 1952 in Thorold Dickinson’s “The Secret People” , in which she ironically played a ballerina, and because of her previous experience, she performed all her own dance numbers.

It wasn’t until meeting Gregory Peck and filming Roman Holiday that she gained recognition, even winning an Oscar for the role. She became a Hollywood favorite, and quickly rose to stardom. Her role as a bookstore clerk turned model in Funny Face still makes me laugh to this day. And who could forget her Cockney accent in the musical My Fair Lady, still my favorite musical of all time. Her curious and trusting personality as Regina Lampert in Charade, and the entitled attitude she gave to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a role originally intended for Marilyn Monroe. No offense to Marilyn, but I couldn’t see the role played ANY other way than the way Audrey brought the emotion to the screen. You definitely didn’t want to be her, but you knew her all too well.

Through her fame she began work with UNICEF and The Red Cross, dedicating her life to helping and supporting those in need, as inspired by the struggles she faced during WWII. After a trip to Somalia in 1992, Hepburn began to complain of stomach pains. After medical care in Switzerland proved to be inconclusive, she traveled back to Los Angeles where they found her to have a rare form of abdomen cancer, having spread from her appendix. Hepburn underwent several surgeries to try to remove the cancer, as well as chemotherapy but to no avail. Her family decided to have her travel back to Switzerland to spend her last Christmas with family and friends. Unable to travel on a commercial flight because of her condition, Hubert de Givenchy arranged for Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon to send her private jet to accompany Ms. Hepburn. The plane was filled with flowers that carried her home to Geneva. She died on January 20, 1993, in her sleep in her home in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland. Gregory Peck tearfully recited a poem on camera titled “ Unending Love” after her death was announced to the world. I was 12 years old when Audrey Hepburn left this world. I still remember the day and how sad it made me feel, even at a young age.

Audrey’s legacy definitely lives on, almost 20 years after her passing. She was inducted into the American Film Institute as the third Greatest Female Stars of All Time. Her famous, “funny” face still appears in television commercials, including a Gap ad in 2006. “Shirley Maclaine, wrote in her 1996 memoir My Lucky Stars, ‘[Hepburn] had very rare qualities and I envied her style and taste. I felt clumsy and old fashioned when I was with her,’ “. Funnier still is the fact that she prefered comfier clothes, as opposed to the image most people had of her as a fashionista. I have a feeling that even in her “comfy clothes” she looked ready for a runway. Oh Audrey, how I adore you still! You still inspire us daily, Ms. Hepburn.