Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's vintage

A few days ago I was feeling in a mood to paw through vintage clothes, so I went to Ratsy's to check out their latest finds. And find I did: a pair of cute shoes in size 10 (almost impossible to get my hands on in vintage or second-hand stores ) and a classic Liz Claiborne sheath. I was going to wear this today, but after checking the weather forecast decided against it. The snow has been melting, but today it was 34 F again and I decided to go with a slightly toastier outfit. I did keep the shoes, though.

I think the technical term for these pants is culottes? They were another Stella purchase from two or three years ago, and they are fun for dancing - they look like a skirt, but have none of the twirly dangers of even the longest skirt. They are pleated beautifully, and I'm a sucker for anything with polka dots. And the vest, although you can't see it too well, also has polka dots but in a much more subtle way. I have yet to get a very good picture of it, but here's an idea of the material.

It's hand-dyed using mud and although it's pretty thin, it's quilted so it's a really warm layering piece. I got it at the Pike Place Market location of Simo Silk, which also has cheongsams and other gorgeous Chinese style clothing.

I've been reading a copy of Alligators, Old Mink & New Money, a book written by the proprietor of what sounds like an amazing vintage store in New York. She writes about clothes in this way that is incredibly warm and visually oriented, and she explained her view of where vintage fits into fashion really well:

There are people I've me who think the "vintage" label is an all-or-nothing way of dressing, that people who shop at my store wear only vintage or "retro" clothing... for me "vintage" means using older pieces to help create a fresh, one-of-a-kind style, with almost no rules as to how that's achieved.

This really struck a chord with me. Because as much as I love the fit and style of so many vintage pieces, especially from the 50s, I don't feel the need to mess with pincurls or retro kitchen supplies because of it. I think the clothes were beautiful, but the political and social atmosphere is not one that I want to evoke in the way I dress; I don't bake, I find atomic kitsch more disturbing than cute, and I have no particular drive to get married. What I love is the way older clothes are cut to fit curves, and the way very classic lines look with unexpected elements of color or other clothes with more contemporary shapes. But in the end, it's all about how the clothes make you feel - it is always amazing to me, the ability of clothing to both create and convey a mood.

Ok, off to bed now!


Some Like it Vintage.com said...

Cute outfits! I agree that wearing vintage can easily be mixed with modern items...some people do not like the full vintage look. It makes them feel like they are dressing for halloween!

Cory Ellen said...

Thanks for stopping by! Although it would be incredibly fun to dress up in full vintage clothing and hair some days, it would definitely feel like a special event to me. I really admire those who do, though...