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. 

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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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Entries in vintage fashion (18)

Sunday
Jan242016

Warm Goldworm

With 1970s Indian bag. Yes, the mini Xmas tree was still up in mid-January.Frigid weather means it's time for my 1970s Goldworm label dress to come out of the closet. 

The print on my Goldworm is fairly sedate compared with much Goldworm knitwear (check out this Flickr group). Some prints were inspired by paintings by Matisse, Gauguin, Klimt and other artists. Others drew from historical patterns, such as Egyptian Revival and Iznik florals. Mine isn't as flashy, but I love the print, the colors and the fit. I also paid a tiny fraction of what these highly collectible dresses are now going for.

Cute worm on the label.


Yes, this is a new-to-me 1970s velvet bag (this one made in India). I didn't have a purple one, you see.


It was cold outside the night I went to see "The Nutcracker Suite," but warm inside the Royal Opera House in London.


Thank goodness for dress shields. 


I found a stash of them at my local thrift store a few months back. They sure save on cleaning costs and time. I had to explain what they were to the staff at the thrift store. It used to be you could buy them at five-and-dime stores like Woolworth’s (back when Woolworth’s existed). Any other vintage clothing wearers use dress shields?

(Total non sequitur - With the death of David Bowie, I was reminded that he called his Ziggy Stardust look, “a cross between Nijinsky and Woolworth’s.")

In spite of the poor lighting and lack of visibility in my photos, I felt visible, so am linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Sunday
Dec062015

Gather me

2015 is almost over and I’m only on my fifth blog post of the year. What a slacker! I can’t recall everything of note, but I’ve got photos to prove they happened. So, to quickly catch up...

Saw Melanie in concert in an intimate ‘supper club’ venue in Worcester, Massachusetts. She still has that strong, passionate voice I remember from the ‘70s. And her music is so much more than the song, "Brand New Key," that everyone knows her for.

Melanie's son, who performs with her, assists with guitar tuning.

I wore a 1970s Vicki Vaughn maxi dress purchased on Etsy. With one of my many 1970s Pakistani velvet bags.

I was so pleased to score a mint copy of the Gather Me album (1971) at a free community swap soon after. I spent the summer listening to this over and over.

Colorful label design for Melanie's label Neighborhood Records.


I obsessively made chickpea flour pancakes.


This particular batch had olives, tomatoes, green peppers, green chilis, nutritional yeast and cumin and was topped with salsa. I also make them with Indian spices with Indian pickle (achar) on the side. I don’t use kala namak, which is supposed to impart an ‘eggy’ taste as I never liked the taste of eggs.

The recipe for soy-free, gluten-free vegan chickpea flour omlette/pancakes is from Vegan Richa (a great vegan recipe blog in general). 

There was a conference in New Orleans. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see the city, but did manage to make two quick visits to the amazine Breads on Oak cafe, which offered up lots of vegan sweet and savory baked goods.

To be continued...

In spite of not being very visible in the blog world lately, I'm linking up to Patti's Visible Monday gathering of visible bloggers at Not Dead Yet Style.

Wednesday
Dec242014

Fair-y tales

Contrary to my last couple of posts, this visit to London hasn’t been all about silent films. There have been vintage fair to go to.

The North London Vintage Fair marked the opening of the Hornsey Town Hall in the Crouch End area of north London. The 1935 Modernist building that has been closed for years (but used as a film and tv location) is now being redeveloped as an arts center. I only saw the hallways that housed the vintage fair, but I’ve read that the rooms still have their original furnishings and details.

I've not seen the 'Lori ann' label before. I drooled over a medieval/peasant maxi dress offered by Lady Jane’s Vintage Bandwagon.

Lady Jane’s also offered a mind-blowing selection of original posters.

 

And I was photographed by stylist Tamara Cincik, also selling vintage clothing and other items.

The next day was the Bethnal Green Affordable Vintage Fair. I’m finding that I gravitate to the same styles of vintage clothes. So, although Bottle Green Vintage had a 1970s olive green dress that fit me perfectly, I didn’t buy it. It was just too similar to things I already own. I guess it’s time to either stop acquiring or get rid of things I already have. Do you find that your clothes are all starting to look alike?

The label on the dress is 'Wendy.'I had to snap a pic of the adorable dress and vest outfit worn by Bottle Green's proprietor, Zoe. I love A-line skirts and puffy sleeves.

Photo by Hollie of H.E.R. VintageI was wearing the 1970s St. Michael’s faux-patchwork velveteen skirt (that I bought on my Second to None excursion with Vix and Annie last year) when Hollie of H.E.R. Vintage took my photo for her “best dressed ladies of 2014” list. 

No way will I be able to cart all of these big, heavy books home. I bought nothing at the vintage fairs but scored some great fashion reference books--and one on the Green Man--at the local library, each just £1 or 2. ($1.50 – 3.00).

Pretty low-key Christmas festivities going on here. We’ve got vegan panettone purchased at Amico Bio, a Harold and Maude DVD to watch, and a decorated dragon tree (with some token gifts; mine purchased at charity shops). Tomorrow, it’s a veganized version of Nigel Slater’s vegetarian Christmas dinner

Happy holidays to you and yours!

 

Tuesday
Nov112014

It was a new day yesterday

But it’s an old day now.

Has it really been almost a year that I temporarily departed from the blogosphere? I’m sure others have been there--sometimes life just gets too cluttered and something’s got to give.

I’m in London now and have a bit more time, so am jumping back online with an outfit I wore a few weeks ago.

1973 cape from Goodwill. Greek fisherman’s cap purchased new in early 1990s in London. Fleur boots from Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. 1970s stars and stripes vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy. Not-shown-before 1970s psychedelic print curtains from Family Thrift, just $3 for the pair!

As long as I have closet space, I’ll keep buying myself capes at the thrift store. This plaid canvas one has cool faux-suede strap-and-buckle closures in front and lacing on the shoulders.

 

Earlier in the day when I also wore a 1960s nautical theme scarf.There’s no manufacturer’s name on the label in the cape, just an RN number. So I checked the Federal Trade Commission’s RN database. It was registered to “Lish Enterprises.” Some creative searching turned up this photo from the Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, January 21, 1973. Since I don’t pay for access to the newspaper archive service, I could only grab a small photo.

Caption for 2nd image from the right reads, “A fisherman's hat comes with a cape of matching multicolored plaid. Of water repellent canvas, by Lish Enterprises.”My cape has a hood, so may be slightly different from the one pictured here, which came with a matching hat. More searching turned up other Lish Enterprises hats in ads from 1972-73. It looks like the company was based in New York, with a factory in Massachusetts.

“A new year, a new you” editorial. Coat by New York Mackintosh. Scarf by Glentex. Bag by Jaclyn. Photo by Joseph Santoro. Seventeen magazine, January 1971.The bag is a slightly different style from this one with butterflies. I had posted this image in a Facebook album more than a year ago, and was thrilled to find the bag with stars (one of my favorite motifs) when browsing on Etsy. 

Earlier this year:

Anne and I in similar colors and footwear at Veggie Galaxy, Cambridge. My outfit: 1970s hat and bag purchased on Etsy. Everything else thrifted from Goodwill. Thrifted shoes painted by me.I met the talented Anne of Spy Girl when she was making her U.S. road trip in the spring. She made my outfit look 10 times better in her sketch here.

Since I am now obsessed with Jethro Tull...

Belatedly joining Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style.
In honor of TRAID's Secondhand First week (Nov. 17 - 23), Ceri of Ethical Fashion Bloggers will be highlighting bloggers in their finest secondhand garb. I'll be traveling so won't be able to take advantage of the great events TRAID has lined up or be able to participate fully. But, every week is 'secondhand first" for me.

Monday
Aug052013

King's Row anyone?

Darn you, eBay.

Since they added the ‘here’s some listings from your recent searches” on the home page, I’ve been sucked into perusing 1960s and 70s dresses that I have no business looking at. Well, I bought one. It fit but I just didn’t like it on me. So the dress is headed for Etsy.

I have a weakness for fabric-covered buttons and psychedelic prints.

I was intrigued by the label, King’s Row, which, of course, sounds similar to ‘King’s Road’ in London, home to 1960s avant-garde boutiques like Granny Takes a Trip. But which company issued the King’s Row label? By searching the RN number, it was revealed that the manufacturer was Puritan Fashions!

Puritan Fashions, a Boston company that had been around since the beginning of the 20th century, helped introduce British mod fashion to the U.S. Aided by Paul Young, a British entrepreneur, Puritan launched the Youthquake label in 1965 bringing in designers like Mary Quant, Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale and fostering young American talent like Betsy Johnson. At this time London had a number of forward-thinking boutiques, but the U.S. fashion industry was fairly staid in its approach to the youth market. So, the establishment of Youthquake led Young (who was inspired by Biba in London) and Puritan’s CEO to open Paraphernalia in New York, a ‘happening’ store that brought together music, fashion, art and popular culture to give American youth their own shopping experience.

I own a metallic knit Youthquake dress that I bought decades ago, which I used to wear to art exhibition openings in London in the early 1990s. It was far too short for me to consider wearing in Boston. Note that the delightfully flouncy sleeves are as long as the dress.

I love the label.

So it seems that Puritan also had the King’s Row label (again capitalizing on British fashion), but I can’t find out when or why. The King's Row clothes for sale online appear to cover the early to mid-1970s. If anyone knows more about this label, please let me know.

Like the ice-blue dress in my last post, I seem to be finding lots of 1970s vintage at the thrift store (I’m guessing no one else wants it). Since I have a dearth of short sleeves in my wardrobe, I picked up this early 1970s knit dress (no label) and shortened it (thanks to everyone who offered that advice for the ice-blue dress).

For the bag, I broke out my textile paintsand painted gold stars on the Tyvek-like fabric (when it comes to crafts, rather than ‘put a bird on it,’ I put a star on it) and made new straps out of star-print fabric.

The general style of the dress reminded me of this one by Betsey Johnson for Alley Cat, from an editorial in the March 1974 issue of Seventeen magazine.

The print of little pink flowers springs recalls the sweet floral prints of the early 1970s, for example, on these Butterick patterns for Betsey Johnson/Alley Cat designs.

Source

Source

In addition to filling out my summer wardrobe with short-sleeve dresses, the thrift store has me prepared for fall. A load of opaque tights by American Apparel had been deposited there yesterday. All looked to be unworn, perhaps just taken out of the package or used for display. Retailing for $16 - 25 each, I paid 99 cents each.

A dozen just-washed tights in lovely fall colors.

I pulled something out of my closet last week and thought, "this would look great with a pair of mustard-colored tights." Now, I have two pairs of mustard-colored tights! It's like the Law of Attraction or something.

Joining in with this week's Visible Monday.

Thursday
Jun272013

Blogging pals' big day out

For my last full day in London, I offered to take Jennie to lunch and then to a ‘secret location’ that I thought she would enjoy.

Figuring out how to get to the 'secret' location. Lunch was to be at bizarre café whose décor is more fitting for a goth/new age/horror film-inspired art installation than an eating establishment. But, it wasn’t open. I learned later that the woman who runs it was just late  that day—so, hopefully, we can go another time (although I don't have high hopes for it surviving much longer) After a sandwich elsewhere, we got on the train to Rotherhithe to the Sands Film Studio.

Last week, my boyfriend had been to a silent film screening at the Sands Film Studio, a film production company that also offers costume and set production and hire services. Recent projects have included costumes for the films ‘Les Misérables’ and Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln.’ You can get a good sense of the place from this narrated slideshow

When A. saw the stacks of fashion magazines, costumes on display, and the library at the Sands, he knew I’d want to visit. The Studio houses the Rotherhithe Picture Research Library, a free resource for stage and film set and costume designers.

So, last week A. and I poked around the Research Library for a bit and this was the ‘secret location’ I whisked Jennie to.

Interior, stacks of fashion magazines, and one of the picture catalogs. I chose 'Costume' as the first index to dive into.Near the entrance there are large, hand-written indices of the picture catalogs that fill the shelves. Categories include furnishings, interiors, architecture, transportation, costumes, and many more.

These large scrapbooks have an image glued to each page. Each is dated, but unfortunately, the source is not always provided.

Dated '1972.'I remember this look from the early 1970s very well: smock top, rolled-up straight-leg jeans, and clogs or boots. Some images from the 1969-1972 costume picture catalogs.

We admired the exquisite embroidery on view.

Embroidered doublets, waistcoats and accessories produced at the Sands Studio and used in various films and stage productionsIn the corner of the library is a little embroidery workshop.View from the exterior of a second-floor window. The Studio has occupied a Grade II-listed former granary since 1975. Jennie and I stayed glued to our seats pouring through vintage magazines well after closing time (no one bothered to tell us to leave). We came away with tons of ideas for projects (I really want to paint a shirt with a rainbow like Julie Driscoll's above). Now if we only had tons of time!

We then popped around to the church and graveyard next door for a little photo shoot. Jennie got all goth in the graveyard and suggested the contrast of the bright blue door for me. The fabulous flouncy, lacy blouse I'm wearing was a gift from Jennie when I went to her house last week.

Frilly lace blouse, gift from Jennie. Patchwork wrap skirt, purchased at a fair-trade bazaar years ago. 1950s reversible man’s waistcoat, purchased by my brother in the 1970s. Fleur boots, purchased at Vegetarian Shoes. 1970s bag, purchased at the Rock and Roll Yard Sale, Somerville.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with Jennie on my next trip to the UK. And should either of us win the lottery we have plans to open a vegan café/bakery with a vintage threads boutique next door. We'll live nearby in a big Victorian townhouse our partners and lots of dogs and cats. And we'll invite all of our bloggers friends to come by for a visit when they're in London.

On Tuesday, British Airways gave me an upgrade on my flight home. When I asked the man at the gate why, he said it was my lucky day and that I should play the lottery when I got home. I arrived home in Boston at night and went straight home. Hoping that my luck would continue, I played the lottery the following day but, alas, didn't win. So, Jennie and my plan will have to wait.

You can read Jennie’s account of our day on her Frocktasia blog here.

The good quality photos in this post are thanks to Jennie.

Tuesday
Mar122013

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.

Sunday
Jan132013

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.

Monday
Nov262012

Panic on the streets of Birmingham

It wasn’t panic so much as shopping revelry. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Vix again and meeting Annie for the first time to participate in an all-day vintage shopping extravaganza in Birmingham. (Warning to bloggers with long hair who meet up with Vix: a quick hello hug resulted in her spectacular jewelry becoming entangled in my hair and we spent the first few minutes in a sitcom-worthy scene that had Vix and Annie trying to extricate my head from the clutches of Indian silver baubles.)

We had a few shops on our list to visit and were pleasantly surprised by finding several vintage fairs happening in the Digbeth area on the same day.

In the dressing room at Cow, in my early 1970s By Jove of California dress When I was in Birmingham a few weeks ago, I went into the shop Cow and was disappointed at the lack of pre-1980s wares. However, a more thorough search turned up this early-1970s polyester dress with its sweet print – sort of a 1970s precursor of the 1990s ‘ditzy’ prints. It also has three fabric-coverd buttons at the neckline, a detail I'm a sucker for. What is it about fabric-covered buttons that is so appealing? 

This dress has a rather fun label which I'll share later.

I know I’m not alone in being a vintage clothing label geek.  So, I'm throwing out a ‘label love’ invite. If you’re a blogger, feature one to three of your favorite vintage clothing labels in a post next week, send me the link to your post by Dec. 8, and I’ll include your label photos and a link to your post in a ‘label love round-up' post.

Here's the rest of my haul:

Within an hour of arriving in Birmingham I had found this ‘mad leprechaun’ hat with its jaunty, slightly squished tapered crown and groovy metal chain.

Late 1960s hat by Jacoll.

1970s D.L. Barron floral pattern maxi. 1970s Frank Usher polyester batik print dress with a cheongsam collar. 70s finds: Jaeger wool ‘secretary’ dress. Two scarves. Woman’s Realm pattern with a great illustration. Both Vix and Annie did well and were laden down with packages by the end of the day.

Just before I headed for the train, Vix presented me with some treasures. Knowing of my collection of vintage Pakistani bags, she gave me two small versions and a Tyrolean-type belt with star-like ornaments. Thanks, Vix!

You can read Vix’s account of the day here.

I’ve set up a Facebook page in case you want to 'like' my page and follow me there. Plus, it's a more convenient way to share interesting tidbits quickly. 

Linking to Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping's Ta-Dah! Tuesday.

Friday
Nov022012

Happy Birthday, A.

Yesterday was A.’s birthday. I made a cake.

Although it was a recipe I had made several times before (here,  but veganized by using almond milk and vegan margarine), baking with different ingredients and different equipment meant that the birthday cake was more like a large birthday cookie. No matter, it still tasted pretty good.

Instead of adding garam masala with the cocoa, I just used some cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I stayed with the orange vanilla icing with a garnish of toasted coconut.

We went to dinner at Carnavale, a Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant nearby. We shared our starters: ‘Quinoa, Wild Mushroom, Spinach and Chilli Cakes with Apricot and Ginger Chutney’ and ‘Young Artichokes stuffed with Walnuts, Lemon and Parsley on a bed of Caramelised Red Onions’ which were both outstanding but my photos didn’t make them look very good.

Phyllo Purse stuffed with Rosemary and Wild Mushrooms served with Pumpkin, Leek, Cannelini Beans and Basil Casserole topped with Pumpkin Seeds. The entrée was somewhat bland, but looks good in a photo. 

Even though we had just had cake at tea-time, we got dessert – ‘Chocolate Roulade, filled with Raspberries, Earl Grey Truffles and Vanilla Soya Cream.’ It looks rather unappetizing here, but it was delicious. Really.

At Carnevale.

ISDA & Co. gray velour dress, thrifted. 1970s waistcoat (which has a matching
dress to be shown in a later post). Antique Indian and stone pendant strung
on a cord (had as long as I can remember). Bangles from India. Purple tights, |
Sainsbury’s. Shoes thrifted and painted by me.

I know that the blogging platform I use is not the most user-friendly. So, I’m about to embark on the daunting task of transferring my blog to Blogger. This blog was originally on Blogger and, in 2006, I became dissatisfied with its limited customization abilities and abandoned it. Which means, luckily, I still have the Joyatri Blogspot URL. But, I need to figure out how to transfer 7 years of content without losing it all as well as transfer my domain name. After that, there will be a lot of re-configuring, re-doing tags, and fixing links. So, please bear with me, and, hopefully, the result will be a blog that is easier to find, follow, navigate, and comment on.

Wednesday
Mar282012

The hordes at the thift stores

My local thrift store is always crowded. The other day I waited in line to make my purchase behind FIFTEEN people! And prices for certain things are only slightly cheaper than they are at H & M or Target. Of course, I am glad that there are lots of people buying used clothing and other items instead of buying new. I just read a couple articles that back up my impression that the thrift stores are getting busier.

"Hard times have brought in hordes of new "thrifters" — one in six adults now shops at the stores," according to the article, "Save and Schmooze: Today's thrift stores offer more than bargains." In areas where there are lots of retirees, thrift stores are like community centers.

As far doing a booming business, it's the same in the U.K. -- "Sweet charity: why second-hand clothes shops are thriving" was on The Guardian website today.

That being said, it's still possible to find a bargain and to find things you can't get elsewhere. I'm always on the lookout for vintage patterns and haven't found any at my local place. Until last week.

I got this for $1.99. I've no idea yet if there is a single complete pattern amid the pattern pieces, instructions and envelopes. 

And for $4.99 I found a vintage skirt of paisley-patterned cotton velvet which I will cut up to make a bag.

I just hope that none of the hordes at the thrift store want the same stuff that I want.

Sunday
Mar112012

Back to black?

I used to wear a lot of black. About 10 years ago, I embraced color. After experiencing the overload of color, noise, smells and general liveliness of Indian cities, Boston seemed to be a ghost town in black and white. (A friend moved back to Boston after several years in Spain. Used to smartly dressed Spaniards, he told me that it looked like everyone in Boston was wearing pajamas.)

I picked up these two black dresses at the thrift store the other day. I’m not sure if they’re keepers.

Here I look like a prim governess. This late 1960s was made by a local dress shop. It has a hand-stitched label: Signed by Gertrude Frank, Brookline. Of black polyester crepe with princess seams, the style is flattering. But even with the white ruffles at the collar and cuffs, I’m thinking it's too severe. Granted I only accessorized it with an Arts and Crafts, Ruskin-style ceramic and silver brooch (marked ‘Kensington Art Ware') and Victorian gold and black enamel bracelet.

And what is with tight sleeves in vintage clothes. My arms are probably the thinnest part on me, but the sleeves from the elbow down are so tight I can barely move. I noticed with my vintage Wallis jacket that the buttoned cuffs are quite snug, even though I have freakishly tiny wrists with a circumference of 5 inches. Luckily this Victorian bracelet fits me perfectly.

The other dress is a maxi dress with a black knit bodice and a brown and white polyester skirt and belt. The high collar and cuffs have black and white snowflake-pattern trim. Even though the dress fits beautifully, I don’t why the maker (it’s homemade) combined the brown and white floral and geometric patchwork print of the skirt with a Nordic black and white trim. Kind of ugly, no?

I'm not sure even the right accessories will save either of these dresses.

Monday
Feb202012

Channeling Susan Dey

I bought this vintage (I’m guessing 1973-4-ish) Leslie Fay knit dress with cream-colored collar and cuffs because I liked the print. It has a floral pattern in heathery teal, raspberry, purple, green and peach on a black background. I also have a thing for full sleeves and collars and cuffs in contrasting colors.

However, the “secretary” style of the dress, with its yoked bodice and self-belt, really didn’t suit me.

1970s Leslie Fay dress shortened into a shirt, $6.99, Goodwill; 1990s Max Mara vest, purchased in the early 90s, Filene’s Basement; 1970s flared jeans, free from a clothing swap; 1980s Fiorucci studded belt, $1.99, Goodwill. So, I shortened it into a shirt and ditched the ribbon and belt. Now it sort of reminds me of something Susan Dey would wear in The Partridge Family.

Adding this to:

Recycled Fashion

 

Monday
Feb062012

Learning to sew, again

I used to sew. But, not well. That didn't stop me from hoarding fabric and vintage patterns. Now, I am going to remedy that and take a sewing class. Hopefully, I will learn how to fit a pattern instead of making clothes that don't fit.

The long-sleeve, to-the-knee dress pattern from 1972 will be my project for class. For the fabric, I chose cotton in a dark, allover print to hide mistakes I no doubt will make. And the fabric was inexpensive, just under $9.00 for almost 3 yards. Wish me luck.