Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year in Review

Photo 37

Another year has gone by. In a way, so much has happened, and in another, I am right back where I started. Its been tough, that's for sure.

This year I:
-lost my job
-decided to switch careers
-spent 11 months on unemployment while I started my career over again
-launched a lingerie line
-went back to school full time for the summer
-moved to London and back
-got a tattoo
-had several failed romances
-spent time in Stockholm, Paris, Portland, the Bay Area, and upstate NY
-started a blog and bought a new computer
-had a major falling out with a best friend

As you can see, there's been a lot of negative stuff that's happened, but if anything I am optimistic that 2010 will be my year. I mean, it has to be right? I will also be turning 30 next year, and from what most of my friends in their 30's tell me, this is when life is supposed to get good.

Here's best wishes to everyone for a better year ahead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Gown

I've had a week of "staycation" here in Brooklyn and have been going a little stir crazy. At first it was nice but then I got sick and broke and it got really cold out, so I have been trying to busy myself with my "to do" sewing pile. Ever since my trip to Paris this summer and my trip to the Vionnet exhibit, I had wanted to get a 30's dress, but my first attempt ended up being a cheap polyester number on ebay that was actually from the 70's (the seller reimbursed me, always check for labels cause not everyone selling on ebay is an expert). By a stroke of good luck, while browsing one of my favorite vintage shops Twisters back in my hometown of Berkeley, CA, this fall I stumbled upon this gown on the sale rack for $20. It needed some work, so it sat in my "to fix" pile for ages, because, honestly, where am I going to wear this? But this afternoon I finally fixed her all up so she's ready to wear. This is officially the oldest piece of clothing that I own, and may never be worn, but its beautiful to have around, if only to admire.

30's dress I restored

30's dress I restored

What's the oldest item in your closet?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Labour of Love, indeed

Back around December of 2007, having recently quit my non-profit job and wanting to do something else, I dreamed of opening a boutique filled with all my favorite things. I'd be my own boss and get to spend my days surrounded by a collection that I curated. I spent hours and hours researching what lines I would carry, what kind of fixtures I'd have, what wallpaper I wanted. I even started scouting locations and made a phone call to inquire about the cost of a well-located vacant storefront on Havemeyer Street. Unfortunately, health problems and a sinking economy put that dream on hold indefinitely, as I saw many of my favorite Brooklyn stores shut their doors over the course of the next year.

If I ever did open a store, however, I would only hope that it would look something like Labour of Love, a somewhat new independent boutique in London. I've always identified more with London style than I have with New York, and this shop really personifies that look and spirit. It's located within spitting distance of my old apartment in Angel Islington, which would have been really dangerous had it existed when I lived there in 2003-4. The actual brick-and-morter store is a well-curated collection of clothing, accessories, books, objects, and music... a portion of which is thankfully available on their e-shop. Browsing the site has made me really miss London.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's an Addiction

I love jewelry with a sense of humor. I also love painkillers. So naturally I fell in love with these Cast of Vices necklaces from Oak: comes in Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet (the Xanax was sold out... perhaps this is the prescription of choice in Williamsburg?).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 10 Vintage sellers on Etsy, Part 2

Time for part 2 of my favorite vintage sellers on Etsy; this time, day wear! This was a harder list for me to compile than part 1. Personally most of the vintage I collect is evening wear... part of that is personal preference and part of that is because evening wear tends to be in better shape than day wear. People wore their day wear until it was in tatters, which means that, despite quality fabrics and careful construction, there is not all that much day wear around pre 1960's when clothing started being mass produced, more synthetic fabrics used, and cost of clothing became cheaper. That said, there are still some great pieces out there (many of my favorite vintage day wear is from the 80's) that you can integrate into your wardrobe. Here are some always reliable sources:

Fab Gabs Vintage

This shop, based out of Oregon City (where?), has a great selection of well-priced pieces, many of which feel totally modern. I am especially loving their outerwear.

Allentown Company Inc

A lot of bloggers have written about their love for Allentown Company's shop, which is also very fairly priced and is known for a great selection of shoes. I don't know much about the shop owner but she keeps a nice flickr blog and a twitter with shop updates. Check out that vintage Lanvin shirt dress!

Catbooks 1940s

An oddly named shop (especially since they don't carry much from the 40's), Catbooks 1940s is on the higher end of vintage carrying many designer labels from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. She's also one of the founding members of the Vintage Fashion Guild who originally sold on ebay and has since made the move to Etsy. Many really extraordinary and unique items here, in the higher price range.

Light Years Vintage

Originally a brick and morter shop based out of Memphis (one of my favorite cities in America), Light Years Vintage has some out of control vintage jewelry and items from the 60's and 70's. Tons of this stuff has been copied by modern designers, naturally.


You probably know Solanah from her excellent blog, Vixen Vintage, where she models an obscene number of hats, but she also runs a small, well-curated shop on Etsy. You can get a preview of what she's selling that week by following her blog, and if something strikes your fancy, put in a request to reserve. Ah, to live near Portland's seemingly endless vintage resources...

So go get shopping!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Top 10 Vintage sellers on Etsy, Part 1

If you are a vintage clothing junkie, you've probably noticed that there is now a ton of amazing vintage on Etsy now. Part of that is the site's growth in general, and part of that is due to a number of vintage dealers defecting from ebay as a result of increased fees. As a New Yorker, the internet is pretty much the only place to get affordable vintage these days (most NY shops are overpriced) so I spend a lot of free time scrolling through Etsy and day dreaming. Here are, in no particular order, my favorite Etsy vintage shops (this post will come in 2 parts, one this week and one next). First up, let's look at my top shops for (mostly) formal wear:

This shop is also on ebay but they reserve some absurdly stunning stuff for their Etsy store. They're based in California and must have some ridiculous connections in Hollywood to get their mitts on these amazing pieces. Prices are pretty up there, so this is really a shop to just admire or maybe save for a special occasion.

Dear Golden seems to focus on the 30's-50's, a little less eveningwear focused than the shop above so you're sure to find something wearable (my favorites are still the evening wear though, naturally). Prices are reasonable and few things are over $100.

I can never get enough black cocktail dresses. This shop has a seemingly endless supply. Oh hey 13 bees, I've got spare room in my closet if you wanna send me some? Wink wink. Prices are expensive but not unreachable, and there are some really fun pieces from the 30's and 40's.

These guys also have an active ebay shop, but they have a small, well, curated collection over on Etsy. Again, very expensive here, but its hard to put a price on some of these beauties.

Land of 1000 Dresses

Pretty self-explanatory here... too many to pick from.

Next time... every day wear!