About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

Click on Products to browse hand-crafted scarves, bags, and jewelry from India for sale.

From my collection to yours: Check out Joyatri on Etsy shop.


Please do leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by! I love hearing from you.

Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)



“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin




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Silents at the seaside

Greetings from the U.K.!

After a hectic few days of giving my apartment a good scrubbing in preparation for the house-sitter and trying on all of my clothes in order to figure out what to pack, I flew to London.

My luggage containing all the clothes I’ll need for the changeable weather of the U.K. and enough accessories to keep me from getting bored for two months.

The day after I arrived and before I really knew where I was, my boyfriend A. whisked me off to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast for a silent film festival. As I’ve reported in previous posts, A. is quite a silent film buff and I’m learning to be one too.

The cinema there was built in 1919, screening many a silent film in its first decade.

We saw quintessentially English, sea-side themed films based on the early 20th-century stories by W.W. Jacobs. Of course, they were accompanied by live music.

© 1928 Collection George Eastman House The highlight of the weekend was a screening of the American film, Beggars of Life (1928), “a rollicking saga of hobos on the lam” starring the captivating Louise Brooks. In keeping with the era and location, the music was provided by silent film accompanist par excellence Neil Brand and the U.K. skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers (which includes Mark Kermode, a film critic and TV presenter). I had doubts about Americana music played by a group of Brits (although one member is an American now living in the U.K.), but their performance was amazing and their music ranged from soulful to exciting (to accompany the chase and train crash scenes). If you haven’t seen silent films -- the musicians pretty much make up the score as they watch the film. So Brandt’s piano playing set the tone and The Dodge Brothers had to follow along.

After the screening A. and I -- being the only attendees who had specially come to Aldeburgh for the festival -- were invited to a small after-party for the band and festival organizers.

Graves of Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. Aldeburgh is best known as the home of the composer Benjamin Britten and it hosts numerous music festivals, including one founded by Britten himself. Other than the festival, it didn't seem like there’s a lot going on there, which it turns out is its appeal for those with holiday homes. It’s also incredibly expensive and does not have a train station, which helps keep the riff-raff out. On Sundays and bank holidays, we found out that there isn’t even bus service in or out of the town, so we ended up having to take a taxi to the nearest train station, then changing three times to get back to London.

Shingle beach, self-catering cottages, 16th Moot Hall, ’Snooks,’ a memorial to a veterinarian couple. Me in my element at a car boot sale, our B & B, a wicker fence lining the footpath, my boot finds.We did enjoy the picturesque views and the laid-back atmosphere. Our B & B was on the top floor of a 19th c. former convent. We took a walk along a footpath that led us through a churchyard and cemetery. Other than the films and the after party, a high point was getting to a car boot sale on Sunday morning (the charity shops in town were crazy-expensive), where I scored 1965 and 1969 issues of Queen magazine.

1940s frock coat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, and painted by me. Hat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, embellished by me. 1960s sunglasses, purchased at Dollar-A-Pound, Cambridge 20+ years ago. 1930s Bakelite brooch I’ve had for decades. 1960s scarf, purchased at Mr. Bird Vintage Fair, Birmingham. Bangles purchased in India.  I spent the weekend looking out-of-place amidst all the tourists in their t-shirts, shorts and sandals. Yeah, it was sunny but there was a nippy breeze. My boyfriend commented that I looked like I had an aversion to the sun. My one concession to summer was the straw hat and sunglasses. It’s not like I was following the tradition of older women wearing street clothes at the seaside, I just feel cold more than others. And we spent four or more hours each day inside a dark theater and not romping on the beach.

1970s does 1940s dress, purchased at Spitalfields Market, London. Tights, retail. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. 1940s necklace I’ve owned for decades.As above with thrifted straw hat with new ribbon and made-by-me fabric flower. I also made a red herringbone hatband that I wore the previous day. You can watch The Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand do a sound check for Beggars of Life.

After the film, The Dodge Brothers played this song, "No. 9." Here they perform it at The Royal Albert Hall.

Do go see Beggars of Life if the opportunity arises.


I have art history in my soul

First off, it was incredibly exciting to find out that I’ve been Digital Catwalk-ized by the talented Anne (Spy Girl). I'm honored to have joined her gallery of bloggers.

This wasn’t going to be an outfit post.

I threw something on today for my exciting trip to Whole Foods to drop off my compost (I store it in the freezer and take it there once a week. So, if you ever come to my apartment, don't be surprised to find a freezer full of garbage). While out, I saw a former colleague from my previous life as a museum curator. She and I run into every now and then. We caught each other up our latest news. Although I don’t work in the museum or art history field anymore, she said, “Look at you with that scarf, and brooch, and those shoes. You have art history in your soul.”

So, when I came home--although I hadn’t been planning to-- I took photos of what I was wearing (hence, the glasses and lack of make-up. Sometimes I don’t put on make-up and contact lenses to drop off my compost).

The clogs were thrifted and recently painted by me. They were brown and have gone through several shades of green, none that I was happy with until this bright olive green (the color is more like the before photo on the top right than the acid green in the bottom photo). At one point they even had vines and scrolls all over them. That looked messy, so I repainted them and kept a band of vines. I didn’t like that and painted them again. I am still not happy with the purple flowers. Too cutesy. The great thing is I can just paint over them.

I grabbed the biggest brooch I had to pin my jacket closed.

1970s polyester jacket, thrifted. Early 20th-century Renaissance-style lion’s head brooch, I’ve owned for decades. Scarf with hand embroidery and mirrorwork, purchased in Gujarat, India. Long-sleeved t-shirt and skirt, thrifted. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me.

I guess this is what having "art history in my soul" looks like.

My catwalk image is joining Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.


Pretty and happy

Today was a beautiful spring day and there was a palpable sense of relief in my neighborhood after a harrowing week.

I felt like wearing a pretty dress even if it was just to run errands.

I bought this dress on Etsy a couple years ago. It was a maxi dress with short puffy sleeve. I shortened it and took the elastic out of the sleeves to make butterfly sleeves.

The print of the fabric makes me happy.

Bulbous-toed oxfords bought in London in the early 1990s. I've always called them my ‘clown shoes.’

Google search results for 'clown shoes.' Uh, oh, take away the inflated toe and boat-like proportions and I’d wear most of these. Some look very similar to the too-big (yes, even with a padded insole) shoes of my last post. Well, I guess if I can wear clown pants, I can wear clown shoes.

1970s dress, altered, Etsy. Corduroy jacket, $3, thrifted. Fabric flower pin made by me. Silver moonface/amethyst necklace purchased in the 1970s. Oxfords, purchased at Hobbs in London, early 1990s. Indian cotton bag made by me from a thrifted 1960s jacket. 

I'm out and about at Visible Monday.


Style Imitating Art: Captain America by Alex Gross

I have been wanting to participate in Style Imitating Art (SIA) for a while. Before I knew of this blogger challenge I had done my own version in a couple posts called "Confessions of an Art History Nerd"-- this one for Vittorio Carpaccio and this one for Rogier van der Weyden.

Captain America, by Alex Gross Mixed media on antique photograph, 2006 When I saw the latest SIA challenge-- a multi-media work by Alex Gross in which he used an antique photograph as the base of an image of Captain America--I couldn’t not participate as I had already taken outfit photos that would work. But I decided to tweak the look by incorporating a high-neck Victorian-style blouse that more closely draws on the artwork.

Cardigan, skirt, blouse, all contemporary and thrifted. 1970s bucket purse I’ve had for decades with a newly thrifted sun/star pin added. Bangles from India.  Instead of the Red Skull lurking behind me, I have “Jet,” a black cocker spaniel photographed by R. Weinberger in 1943. (I collect vintage dog photographs. Or used to, until I acquired more than I could display.)

Originally I had taken this outfit shot.

I'm always inspired by other bloggers and I had noticed that shrunken cardigans flattered the ample bosoms of Helga and Curtise. So when I saw a star-adorned cardigan at the thrift store in a size too small, I thought I’d give it a try. They were also inspiration for the red, white and blue palette. (I'll also mention Kelly of Grunge Queen, who recently posted about experimentation being possible when one thrift shops). Have you been inspired so specifically by another blogger?

With the exception of the shoes, all clothing is contemporary and thrifted. This look doesn't excite me and I need to experiment with the sweater. So, ignore the clothes and look at the shoes.

Early 1970s Minnie by Weber shoes, thrifted. I’ve posted about my love of multi-colored shoes and my efforts to paint shoes to get the effect (here  and here). So, I was thrilled to bits to find a vintage pair of yellow, blue and red shoes. Unfortunately, they’re a bit too big. But I can wear them for an outfit post.

Inside one shoe is the name “Minni by Weber” and “Irvings’s Chula Vista California” in the other. The shoe store, Irving’s, in Chula Vista, California, started in 1954 and appears to still be in business. Although these shoes were originally sold in California, after some research I found that they have a Boston connection. (Nerd alert: This is where I tell you the history of my shoes. I’ll keep it short).

In 1919, the Green Shoe Manufacturing Company was founded and started manufacturing shoes in converted stables in the Roxbury section in Boston. Jump ahead to the 1960s, when the company bought up smaller shoe companies, including the Weber Shoe Company in Missouri. In 1966, the name changes to Stride Rite. By 1969, the shoe conglomerate was producing over 30,000 pairs of shoes a day. Today, Stride Rite is probably best known as a maker of children’s shoes.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Stride Rite was a pioneer in providing social services for its employees. In 1971, it was the first company in the U.S. to open an employer-sponsored, on-site day-care center. The motivation at first was philanthropic; the president of the company wanted to ‘give back’ to the low-income community where its factory was located. But soon employees asked to take advantage of the day-care center. Stride Rite’s day-care program became a model for other companies. Unfortunately, various state regulations prevented them from opening such centers for their factory workers outside of Massachusetts, but they were able to provide day-care for workers’ children at their factory in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1990, the company decided to address the need for elder care services by opening an Intergenerational Day-Care Center.

I really wish these shoes were in my size. I’d like to wear them with my striped trousers. I guess I’ll have to paint myself some yellow, blue and red shoes.

Better late than never, I'm linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.


Guilty pleasure: polyester

For many folks, ‘polyester’ conjures up images of powder-blue leisure suits, Ban-Lon pants and the John Waters’ cult film. Or the cheap, flimsy, woven fabric that many clothes are made of nowadays. But, I like to think of the easy-care, flattering, polyester double knits that were lauded in fashion magazines of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Knit-Away, Inc. ad from Seventeen Magazine, August, 1971These thick, textured knits were available in a huge array of patterns, made possible because of new computer programmed knitting machines. And they were marketed directly to home-sewers.

I recently thrifted a pair of polyester pants with an orange, red and blue print and I’ve been wearing them a lot. Here’s a detail of the print.

OMG, in posting this, I just realized that these are crazy clown heads! Some are wearing hats and some aren’t. Please tell me you see it too?

Worn with the “jerkin” I altered recently, thermal underwear shirt, and calico scarf – all thrifted. Vegetarian Shoes Fleur boots. Rajasthani wedding bangles purchased in India.Thrited calico scarf. Yeah, it has a couple holes but I couldn't resist the pattern and colors. Rajasthani wedding bangles.Pants cuffed to show purple Vegetarian Shoes paratrooper boots. Coat purchased at Greenwich Market, UK. Scarf purchased at a yard sale.  Yesterday, this look prompted a hipster 40-something man at Whole Foods to say, “I like your colors!”

I was intrigued by the fabric care label sewn into what are obviously home-stitched pants. Being a nerd, I had to research fabric care labels.

I especially like the courteousness of the label: “Wash as often as you like by machine or hand.” The RN number is registered to Universal Knitting Mills, Inc. in Florida. Vintage clothing aficionados know that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued the Care Labeling Rule in 1971. According to Textiles by Norma Hollen and Jane Sadler (4th ed. 1973), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued rules that “require that textiles used by home sewers for apparel must be accompanied by care labels that the consumer can affix permanently to the finished product.” (p. 3) Not having seen this before, I looked at the FTC’s website and see that the current rule is that textiles for home use have to have the fabric care instructions on the end of the bolt. If anyone has clarification on when care labels for fashion fabrics were no longer required (or if they, in fact, weren’t ever required), please let me know.

I recently looked through American Fabrics magazine from the years 1968 to 1972. American Fabrics was an industry magazine that featured the latest designs accompanied by fabric swatches as well as articles on trends and technology. Here’s a sampling of the polyester double knits I covet.

Contemporary Paisley by Waumbec Mills, from American Fabrics, Spring, 1969. Heraldic Print Knit by William Heller, from American Fabrics, Fall, 1969. Persia in a Single Knit by Cohama, from American Fabrics, Summer, 1970.Maybe I'll find a "Scary Clown Head" swatch the next time I'm at the library looking at American Fabrics.

I proudly wear 'clown pants' -- and they've already proven their eye-catching qualities so I'm linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday. Do check out the stylish folks there.


Austere tea party, anyone?

In honor of Woman’s History Month, a local vegan café held a Ladies Tea Brunch this past Sunday. When I read that hats and tea party attire were mandatory, I reserved a spot right away. Seeing as we just had a few feet of snow (and I had just watched two episodes of Land Girls on Hulu), I opted for the sober colors and warm fabrics of the 1940s.

First I had to revive this red velvet cap that I used to wear all the time in the 1980s. I removed the ratty netting and the ornamental buttons that were missing rhinestones. I then steamed and pressed it on to a mannequin head to get its shape back.

That accomplished, it was time to check on the dress, a donkey-brown wool number from the early 40s, again something I bought in the 80s and haven’t worn since.

I love the details: the gathers on the top and the pin tucks in the lower part of the sleeve, the tiny gold studs on the shoulders and triangular pockets, the gathered bodice and flared skirt.

And, ta-dah!

The dress, hat, brooch on hat, necklace, gloves, and shoes are original 1940s. I've owned all of them for decades, except for the shoes, which are a recent acquistion.

The bag was made in India and purchased on the street in New York in the 1990s. I just tucked the handle inside to use it as a clutch. The stockings are the wrong color, but I was relying on what I already owned. The eyeglasses are new prescription ones, for which the jury is still out. They did work well with this outfit though.

I had worn this 1940s coat to the point of near disintegration in the 1980s and have been on the verge of throwing it out many times. I’m glad I hadn’t. It needed a few repairs to make it wearable for an afternoon, though. I teamed it with a scarf bought new in the 1980s.

The 1940s shoes were recently thrifted from Goodwill.

The label inside reads “Wilbur Coon.”

Wilbur Barry Coon (1870-1926) and a partner began making baby shoes in 1891 in Rochester, New York. By 1912, Coon had struck out on his own and founded what was to be a phenomenally successful company manufacturing babies, children’s and women’s shoes. After his death, his son Wilbur Levis Coon took over the business. The company sold shoes under their own label to more than 6,000 retailers. An online search has turned up ads for Wilbur Coon shoes from the 1920s to 1940s, but I haven’t found any information that would indicate when the company went out of business.

I have a hard time finding shoes that are comfortable. Turns out that comfort and fit were the two major selling points of Wilbur Coon shoes. One of their slogans was “A Made-to-Measure Fit in Ready-to-Wear Shoes. Sizes 1 to 11. Widths AAA to EEE.” According to a newspaper ad from 1935, there were special in-store fitting days (probably with a traveling rep from the company) and 149 sizes were available.

As you see from all the numbers inside the fit measurements were fairly complicated.

from The Pittsburgh Press, October 30, 1930  The baby’s foot is a perfect foot. And you don’t find foot troubles in adults in tribes that live barefooted. Foot troubles come from shoes that don’t fit.

The fault is only partly yours. Most shoes are made to fit the foot at two points only – length and ball. That method is as old as shoe-making. But, why keep on wearing a two-point shoe on a five-point foot? Wilbur Coon Shoes are made to fit all five points – length, ball, instep, waist, heel?

Another sizing innovation (although I don’t know if it originated with Wilbur Coon shoes) is that samples in children’s sizes were made in clear vinyl so one could actually see if the shoe fit properlyt.  A pair sold on Etsy recently.

There are a number of advertising postcards for the company here.

I wish shoe companies offered a similar level of customization in sizing. With 149 different sizes, I was lucky to find a pair that fits as well as they do. The Wilbur Coon shoes I see currently for sale online are listed at anywhere from $40 to $169, so I was even more fortunate to find mine for 10 bucks.

The shoes alone deserve to be linked to Ta-dah! Tuesday.


Reporting for duty

I’ve been MIA lately, taking an llittle, unannounced break. I'm back and have a lot of catching up to do with everyone’s blogs.

Here's a tiny bit of what I've been up to.

My street. Those are cars buried under the snow on both sides fo the road.Out walking in the blizzard.

The main road at the top of my streetJean-Paul Gauthier jacket, Dirk Bikkemberg trousers, both purchased new in the early 1990s.Attended an exhibition of 1980s art at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Everything in the show seemed very familiar as the 1980s were the last time I actually paid attention to contemporary art.

I wore my early 1990s Jean-Paul Gaultier jacket with its row of snaps down the front that I always felt was like a line of ‘vestigial nipples.’

I went to an all-vegan Valentine’s Day dinner (alas without my Valentine) where my friend and I shared these two incredible cakes.

I baby-sat for Tigro. He looks all sweet and innocent here, but the little brat's nighttime routine was to hit me in the face every few hours.

I made a pair of pajama pants out of this happy print (I bought the fabric new, but it reminded me of the whimsical prints of the 1970s).

Thrifted LizWear dress, t-shirt and Willi Smith corduroys; thrifted 1970s scarf; bangles from India; Vegetarian Shoes paratrooper boots purchased new.

And altered this thrifted black velveteen dress to fit so that I could wear it as a jerkin. I also altered the thrifted purple paisley corduroys which were three sizes too big. 

I thrifted this pair of never-worn white go-go boots and these so-ugly-they're-awesome late 1960s polyester double-knit trousers. The boots are glossy vinyl, but I’m going to figure out a way to paint them as I’m not really a white go-go boot kinda girl.

Thrifted sweater dress by Fabrizio del Carlo from Goodwill; 1970s vinyl applique bag, Etsy; lac bangles from India; necklace gift from my mother, Restricted Barricade non-leather boot, purchased new on sale.

I blogged recently about how I used to buy new—but heavily discounted—  designer clothes, and still have most of them. Now, I don’t buy anything new and most of the clothing of good quality I find at thrift stores is vintage. However, this cotton/rayon sweater dress jumped out at me recently. I wasn't sure a sweater dress would be flattering on me, but I liked the wide scooped neckline (it also scoops in the back), the length of the sleeves and the fact that it skims instead of clings.

Almond Joy cheesecake at Veggie Galaxy.The fact that I took the outfit photo after returning home from dinner and the dessert above is a testament to the magical skimming qualities of this dress.

As I haven't been visible in the blogosphere for a month, I'm joining Visible Monday to get back into the swing of things.


To me you are a work of art

Have you ever been in a thrift store and saw something highly desirable and someone else was looking at it? What did you do?

I went into a local store that is slightly more curated, and has somewhat higher prices than the place I usually shop. But, I’ve gotten some real gems there. Like my vintage, Made-in-Pakistan corduroy and velvet tote bag that I picked up for $10.00.

Last week, I saw a woman sorting through a large bin of linens and fabrics. She had taken one piece out and placed it aside. When I saw what it was, I HAD TO HAVE IT.

Had she taken it out because she was going to buy it? Was she just trying to make more room in the bin to see what else was there? I was tormented and had to come up with a plan of action.

I decided to befriend her, figuring that in the event she did want to buy it, I could convince her why it had to be mine. I moseyed up next to her and started chatting about what nice things were in the bin, blocking her view of the one she had set aside, hoping she would forget about it. It worked!

I also picked up these textiles.

Clockwise from left: hand-worked needlepoint; vintage purple velvet yardage; embroidered pillow cover; hand-loomed cotton fabric; and pom-pom trim.  Now for the pièce de résistance. At first I thought it was just heavyweight cotton yardage.

Recognize it?

I bought this 1960s dress, which I first posted about last year (and later wore here and here), in the 1980s. As I wrote before, there is no label and it was obviously made by a skilled sewer.

This fabric is identical. I got it home and took a good look.

It’s a shower curtain!


Even weirder – the grommets for the shower curtain hooks are at the bottom.

My guess is that there was a run of ‘seconds’ in this print, all manufactured upside-down. Some clever seamstress turned one into the dress that I now own.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the shower curtain. Maybe…use it as a shower curtain?

This little discovery is definitely Ta-Dah! Tuesday-worthy.


Vested interest

In spite of having 5 closets full of clothes, I have a dearth of vests, and was pleased to find this 1960s knitted wool vest at my local thrift store. It’s machine-knit, with off-white bands down the front and around the pockets.

I was intrigued by the label, which was sewn in by hand and reads, “Asani’s Select Age/ASA/for Original Goods.” I googled the heck out of this and came up blank. There are two other small tags, one has fabric care symbols with Chinese characters and the other reads, “Made in Rep. of China.” It’s a mystery.

After decades of donning black, I rarely wear it these days. But, I liked the mod, graphic quality of the vest. What to wear it with?

Cotton/nylon/rubber (those crazy Italians and their innovative fabrics) pants, Made in Italy by Vassali. Black cotton knit turtleneck, acquired at a clothing swap. M & S non-leather boots, purchased on sale last year. Rubber bracelet, pewter bracelet purchased in the 1980s. First I paired it with ‘newly vintage’ wavy-print trousers, ones I bought at Filene’s Basement in the early 1990s, and a black turtle neck.

Large 1980s star face pin, thrifted. Victorian starburst and moon and star pins, I’ve had for decadesI  put a scattering of cosmic pins on as well.

That look was a bit dreary, so I decided to up the ‘mod’ quotient a bit by pairing it with a fellow 1960s garment – a dress that I thrifted and altered (took up the sleeves and shortened) in the 1980s.

1960s polyester double knit dress, no label, thrifted in the 1980s. 1960s wool knit vest, thrifted. Black tights, retail. Restricted Barricade non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Greek fisherman’s cap, purchased in the early 1990s in London. Metal Indian necklace and armlet, owned for decades. Red bangles purchased in India. Indian metal bangle purchased at a yard sale. 

I’m remembering the time I met this fella in the park. His name’s Terry, he’s got a Triumph six-fifty. He said he was lookin’ for a wife…I says he’d hafta get rid of that motorbike afore I went steady with him. He laughs and says, "We'll see about that!" I'm almost frightened to go with him  'cos I know he'll be able to do anything he wants with me...

Oops, no, sorry, that wasn't me. That was Rube in Up the Junction.

Other items I’ve thrifted recently.

1970s Nancy Greer -- New York polyester blouse with its original cord and tassel belt. I’m guessing this originally had a matching skirt. Late 1960s Young Victorian by Arpeja rayon blouse with puffy sleeves and flouncy cuffs. The Young Victorian and Young Edwardian labels had some wonderfully illustrated ads, but that is a topic for another post.

I’m squeaking in under the wire for Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday shindig.


Long-term commitments

Usually I post about clothes that I’ve purchased at thrift stores or vintage clothing shops. In light of the Ethical Fashion Bloggers January Freestyle Outfit Challenge, I thought I’d focus on another category of clothing that I wear – items I’ve purchased new but are vintage because I bought them 20+ years ago.

Yes, long, long ago, I purchased new clothes. Mostly discounted because I shopped at the original and legendary Filene’s Basement, where everything was marked down, and the longer it remained on the racks, the deeper the discount. I fell in love with the gorgeous fabrics, excellent craftsmanship and interesting styles of designer clothes. I didn’t care about the labels or being "in style" (everything I bought was from past seasons anyway). I just appreciated the quality.

Iridescent taffeta jacket by Anna Sui. Embroidered sheer silk blouse by the French label, Equipment. Black wool trousers by Antwerp designer Dirk Bikkembergs. All purchased at Filene’s Basement in the early 1990s. Boots purchased at Shelly’s in London in the early 1990s.  English Eccentrics devore velvet scarf. Purchased in the early 1990s at Filene's Basement.Although my photos are lousy and don't show details well, each item has something special. For the jacket, it’s the cut and quality of the fabric. The blouse is embroidered all over with off-white and gold metallic threads. The trousers fit well and have a flap just below the knee which hides a zipper so that you can remove the lower part (not that I've ever done that).

I wear the English Eccentrics scarf every winter. What with being orange and purple, velvet and having a heraldic pattern with unicorns, lions and Tudor roses, how could it not be my favorite?

The blouse and jacket (and boots) have appeared here previously, so there's proof that I do still wear them. Although I no longer buy new items derived from animals, I wear ones from my "pre-gan" (pre-vegan) days and will continue to until they fall apart.

Christmas 2011. February 2012

I have lots of clothes that I've had for a very long time. Do you?


Funky by Dexter: It takes a Funky Chicken to Lay a Funky Egg

More shoe fashions from 1971, this time desert boots, oxfords and bowling shoes.

Lady Dexter shoe ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.Penneys shirts and jeans ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.

I’m guessing my love of stripey jeans and star motifs started around this year. This ad isn’t for shoes but it shows more two-toned desert boots.

I’ll find some Famolare crepe-soled shoes and clogs for Joni.

What a coincidence that Curtise posted a Horrible Histories video yesterday. I didn’t know what Horrible Histories were until her post, but I had recently stumbled on these videos by History Teachers – mini history lessons put to the music of pop songs. I was in grad school studying medieval art history in the early 1980s, so I particularly like their videos on the medieval period as well as the revamped 1980s songs.

I've posted some of my other favorites on my Facebook page, including one with a chorus of "Ooh, ooh fleas on rats, fleas on rats" and another that begins,

"“Mummification equals immortality
Your brain’s pulled out your nose by an embalmer-priest”

Catchy, no?


It's the thought that counts

I was crafty over the holidays, making belated Christmas presents for my man in London. He’s received them in the mail now, so I can post pictures.

And there’s no better day to do so than Ta-Dah! Tuesday.

I’ve posted before about painting shoes and a bag and experimenting with stenciling on fabric. I decided to stencil t-shirts for A. 

I had read about the ease of using freezer paper, which can be ironed onto fabric, to make stencils and thought I’d give it a try. I purchased two plain t-shirts at the thrift store (at $1.99 each).

The first design was the ‘PH5’ pendant lamp designed by Danish architect Poul Henningsen (1894 – 1967) in 1958.

I used a photo in one of my books and did a sketch. I then put the drawing under a piece of freezer paper and cut out the stencil. I left off the little vertical bits.

Stencil was ironed on t-shirt.

Mixed some white with a bit of pewter and black and painted several coats, allowing paint to dry thoroughly between coats.

The moment of truth – peeling off the freezer paper. It worked! No paint seeped under the paper and all the edges were clean.

Ta-Dah! Finished t-shirt.

Once my boyfriend modeled the t-shirt for me over skype I saw that the whole design was crooked. And, if you look closely, it's obvious that this was not drafted with any precision. Oh, well. I still have the drawing (luckily, I made a photocopy before cutting out the stencil) and can fix it and make a new stencil easily enough.

For the second design, I found a stencil pattern online of Cthulhu.  I saved the image, enlarged it, and printed it out.

Then did the same freezer paper stencil thing.

This time I used metallic pewter paint with a bit of black to tone it down.

Ta-dah again! This one isn’t wonky.

A. tells me that he loves them both.

Check out the clever capers at Lakota's Ta-Dah! Tuesday.


Medieval me

Bill Cunningham’s Sunday video for The New York Times documents trends he notices on the streets of New York City. I got excited when I saw that today’s was “Legs of Manhattan: The gothic and medieval eras are casting their spells over fashion. Today's look of black leggings and abbreviated coats suggests men in the 1400s.”

Really, Bill, that’s the best you’ve got? Black tights or leggings and short coats do not a medieval look make. Granted there were two doublet-like jackets (shown in the still) that fit the bill, but the rest just did not impress.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m fascinated by all things medieval (and have been accused of having a medieval lifestyle based on my lack of interest in technology, electronics and many items of convenience). One of my first posts when I switched this blog to be about vintage/thrift clothing was about the tunic/legging look.

Some of my favorite fashion elements are drawn from medieval and Renaissance times: puffy sleeves, double sleeves, short dresses or tunics over leggings, colorful tights, lace-up bodices, talisman-like pendants, big silver rings, capes, cloaks, shawls, boots, anything velvet, earth tones, and the color purple.

Just looking through some of my pics (some which I’ve not posted before) of the past couple years, I came up with the following (i.e., without really trying):


If some of these outfits look a tiny bit costume-y, well, frankly, I wish life was more of a costume party than it is. It’s not like I go out in chain mail or anything. At least, not often.

I'm not in a New York Times video, but I'll pop into Visible Monday.


Capezio: the show stoppers

It is such a shame that the wonderful, wearable styles of 1960s and 1970s shoes are not made today. I love all the colors, shapes and attention to comfort (roomy toe-box and 1 to 2-inch heels) that styles from this period have. My fantasy is to start a company that reproduces these styles in vegan materials.

Photo credit: Green Shoes's Facebook page (click pic for link)Step one of my plan for world shoe domination (maybe it’s just me who thinks millions will clamor for these styles) is to learn how to make shoes myself. As I found out last year from Norma’s blog, a handmade shoe company in Devon, UK, whose range of vegan shoes I’ve always admired, offers shoemaking workshops. The photo above shows the results from one of Green Shoes' workshops.

As a celebration of vintage shoe styles, my goal is to post images of vintage shoes each week. This way I’ll be ready and have all the images in one place when I have my shoe company.

Capezio show ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971 The shapes! The colors! The brightly hued tights!

I was trying to pick my favorite here, but it's hard. I want them all. If I had to pick, I’d say the ‘Shepherd’ and the ‘Woodstock’ (which are similar). Which is your favorite?