Ok, so I’ve established that fashion is always on my mind. Even when I’m not intentionally shopping, I seem to find amazing stuff everywhere I go. For many years, it’s made budgeting difficult. But my taste has evolved. I’m much more discerning about my purchases now. I’ve also gotten much better with setting and sticking to a budget.
Budgeting has, in fact, improved the quality of my wardrobe. I think twice before buying something mediocre. And I always seem to have the funds when something amazing is on the radar. I thought it would be fun to start a new category devoted to some of my stellar finds. So stay tuned for “find of the week“.
So today, I found this amazing sweater!! It works perfectly with the trending and classic “touches of red” styles seen just about everywhere lately. (It’s really a classic trend! Just ask The Vintage Traveler.)
I love this sweater! It’s such a classic, and is durable. It can be casual with jeans and boots, or upscale with a skirt or dress. The gold buttons add a little shimmer. And the pockets are such a menswear inspired detail.
Best of all, I can just toss it in the washing machine. I was sad, however, that the original tag had been cut out. I wish I knew who was responsible for making this adorable cardigan.
But I guess the amazing red dress it came with sort of evens things out. Yes, they came as a set! I wouldn’t pair these two pieces together, though. I like them worn separately. The dress is so perfect for spring. Or a summer night. I can hardly wait for warmer weather!
It’s become frightfully cold. In an attempt to stick to my New Year’s Resolution, I’m trying to spend less. But my wardrobe is definitely lacking winter items after living in Southern California for almost 3 years. Keeping warm is a priority as I wander the windy streets of New York City. Since I teach a textile course, I’ve become really preoccupied with performance fibers. So I decided to investigate Uni Qloyesterday to check out their HeatTech Line. If I didn’t buy anything, at least I could do a little research.
HeatTech is a line of created from specially engineered fibers that retain body heat, dry quickly, and are antistatic and antibacterial. It’s amazing, because I had just taught a lesson on manufactured fibers. Companies can actually create fibers and fabrics with those kinds of performance qualities. It’s also pretty cool because Uni Qlo has a lot of information in the store that explains why the HeatTech line works the way that it does. They even include microscopic views of the fibers! (Hello, textile nerds!)
I was sort of expecting the line to look like athletic gear. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that HeatTech consisted of great basics and layering pieces: t-shirts, turtlenecks, leggings, and socks. Some of the garments are a nod to the minimalist tradition, and others have interesting prints. Everything in the line is super light weight, so you won’t feel bulky while keeping warm.
I decided to give the line a try. I picked up a t-shirt and figured that would be it. But I nearly lost it when I saw these argyle knee-high socks!!
Socks can be an undervalued accessory. In menswear, it’s such a critical detail. The wrong socks mess up a suit and shoes. However, for women, we tend to forget about them completely. We either wear stockings or go bare-legged. The right pair of socks definitely adds a little pizzaz to an otherwise bland outfit. My advice is to pair a similar pair of knee-highs with heels and a dress. Sexy and warm? Yes, please!
Don’t you think it’s time to step up your sock game? You can get a pack of 2 at Uni Qlo for just $12.90. But the argyle pattern is only available in stores.
That’s right – I said it. Label whore. I always thought this was a ridiculous expression. It’s a sort of slang to describe someone that only wears brand name clothing. While I haven’t heard the term in ages, I always understood to to refer to people that equate labels to taste. It simply isn’t true. Taste and style are all about the right silhouette for your body, and the right pairing of clothing and accessories to express your personality. Buying and wearing something solely based on a brand name is not a great strategy for developing personal style. There’s much more to it than that.
I certainly have favorite designers and labels. But there is something about the arrangement of fashion that is personal. It’s creating a composition: various elements are arranged on your body to communicate something about who you are. This can’t be dictated by a brand, but discovered through trial and error.
As I was out buying new items for the store, this label caught my eye. It was located on a brightly colored plaid scarf. The beautiful colors had already grabbed my attention, but such a beautiful label made me drop everything. Who was Herbert Gallant? I’d never heard of him before. The label sat there and taunted me. Questions flurried through my mind: was he French? Or American? And when was it from? Could Gallant be (or have been) someone important?
The scarf was included in my purchases. I was lost in thought while at the checkout. A mystery was in front of me, and I couldn’t wait to solve it. I paid and left. But somewhere in the parking lot, I wondered to myself, “Does this make me a label whore?” I had, after all, purchased a pretty scarf mostly based on a label I knew nothing about. Maybe I was venturing into the realm of fashion promiscuity.
Luckily, I checked my email when I got home. When 140 Characters Aren’t Enough was waiting in my inbox. Sometimes, I think Lizzie Bramlett writes things just for me. Her post discusses how many vintage resellers don’t include photographs of labels. How irksome! Labels give so much information about the brand and era that a garment was made. She showed us the evolution of the White Stag label, from 1955 to present day. As a seller myself, I know I couldn’t possibly write a description that covers the an entire history of a designer or brand. That is why I always include photos of any tags or markings when I list an item. Having worked in the art market, buyers demand signatures and authentication. What happens if a painting isn’t signed? Without a solid provenance (chronology of ownership) and letter of authentication from experts, the artwork is virtually unsellable. Why should a garment be any different?
The Vintage Fashion Guild has an excellent label resource, which I highly recommend. Collectors and members upload images of labels and contribute biographical entries. There is so much information on just about any designer you want to know. From their site, I was able to find out that Herbert Gallant was the son of Frank Gallant. With a quick click, I found his biography:
A manufacturer of women’s suits and coats, the company was founded by Frank Gallant in 1916. Gallant’s son Herbert joined the company in 1945 and became president in 1955. Tom Brigance was the designer as of 1951 and stayed into the 1960s. Frank Gallant died 1965. In 1965, the head designer was Martin Unger, who moved to Zelinka-Matlick that year.
Frank Gallant, Inc. sold women’s coats and suits to such stores as Saks, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, De Pinna, and Altman’s. The company name was changed to Gallant International in 1968. They held licenses for Cardin Coats starting in 1976, and also had the Geoffrey Beene for Gallant line. Robert Gallant became president in 1998. Herbert Gallant died 2007.
Written by pastperfectvintage.com via The Vintage Fashion Guild
My instincts were spot on. I’m not relying on a label or brand to establish my style. However, I recognize there is importance behind a name. Labels carry a certain sense of history with them. It’s worth paying attention to them. Understanding a label and what it represents doesn’t make you – or me – a label whore. It makes us smarter consumers.
Sometimes, you find that dress that makes your heart race. My pulse definitely skipped a beat as I walked by Surface to Air in Soho this week. In the window, this grey jersey dress beckoned me in. It’s pull was almost magnetic on my weakened little heart.
Surface to Air is a French label that specializes in minimalist fashion. The store has all the minimal trappings: sleek decor, an achromatic color pallet, and masterfully tailored clothing. While the turn dress got me in the door, I had quite a bit of fun perusing the racks.
Minimalism is a style I’ve naturally gravitated towards since it’s so practical. But Surface to Air really makes this style irresistible with it’s attention to detail and sumptuous fabrics. The designs are so artfully executed, it made me venture outside of my comfort zone to try on metallic & suede leggings. I felt like a total rockstar.
The dress was still more “me”. I tried it on again. It just made me feel so beautiful. I didn’t want to take it off.
When I got home, I did a little research on the brand. Know what makes them even cooler? The Paris branch has a private collection of my favorite street artist Banksy’s work. Really, you’re making it hard for me to breath with all this beauty.
When I lived in Southern California, I attended Pamper Me Fabulous. This is the ultimate girl’s day out. Aside from free flowing bubbly and delicious deserts, Pamper Me Fabulous features shopping, beauty, and spa treatments.
One of the things I enjoyed about last year’s event was the opportunity to shop. I’m an avid online shopper. The vendors at Pamper Me Fabulous were fantastic, and many I had only previously seen online. It was nice to experience the quality of a new brand before making the blind leap to purchase.
This year, Pamper Me Fabulous is being hosted at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. You’ll definitely find me there on October 7th. A relaxing day shopping, learning about health and beauty, and drinks with friends. Who wouldn’t want to go? Visit their site to register for tickets: Pamper Me Fabulous
When I’m quiet, you know that I’ve gotten myself into something interesting. This week, I have several writing deadlines. But I’ve just been dying to share a great place with all of you, so I tore myself away from work.
Shopping local and supporting American entrepreneurs are two of the most important things you can do to improve the economy. So when I go shopping, I try my best to do both. It’s so easy to do at Vintage Doylestown, a great store in the town where I work.
Owner Debi Seltzer has some amazingly cute items. She constantly offers new merchandise. She attends auctions and estate sales weekly to refresh her inventory, so you’ll never see the same thing twice. I stopped in a few days ago, and spotted this amazing straw tote. I had to have it! The colors are perfect for my wardrobe transition from summer to fall .
I also found the perfect gift for my mom. She was having a bad week, so I thought I’d try to make her smile with a pair of earrings. Presents have a funny way of making people happy. The best part was, aside from being chic, they were very affordable.
What I really loved about my last trip to Vintage Doylstown was Debi’s amazing gift wrapping. She has a similar philosophy to me: reduce waste, support local businesses, and do it all stylishly. She uses old mismatched earrings to adorn the recycled, made in America boxes.
What a great idea! A re-purposed bow and reusable box. Doesn’t it make you want to buy a present for someone you love?
Even if you’re not in Doylestown, you can see what Vintage Doylestown has to offer. Like their Facebook page and take a peek.
Today’s post is extra special! It’s from Lizzie Bramlett of The Vintage Traveler. Back in May, we did a vintage shopping tour of Atlanta. She took me to some amazing places. However, I was deliriously tired for most of the adventure. In 36 hours, I had been in 3 different states and slept for about 1 hour. The sleep deprivation didn’t affect my ability to shop, but it did impair my memory.
Vintage shopping extravaganza in Atlanta. Image courtesy of Lizzie Bramlett.
I came across a beautiful three-piece dress. The fabric and construction were immaculate. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit me. It was created for someone petite. I showed it to Lizzie, because I had never heard of the maker before: Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman. I couldn’t remember the name for life of me. I must have asked Lizzie a million times about the label. So thankfully, she offered to write a guest post to tell us all about it. (Thanks, Lizzie!)
One of the benefits of looking at so much vintage clothing over the past thirty years is that I’ve learned a lot about labels from the past, and can recognize many that have faded into obscurity. While shopping with Monica in Atlanta in May, we ran across a wonderful dress set with what I knew to be a very nice label: Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman.
Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman label. Image courtesy of Lizzie Bramlett.
Neither man is exactly a household name today, but in the 1960s and 1970s their dresses were sought out by fashionable women who wanted a stylish but not over-designed dress. They made what was known as “better dresses,” which were made with a combination of machine and hand sewing. Today Rodgers and Silverman are remembered by any vintage clothing dealer or collector who is lucky enough to come across an example of their work. Interestingly, they are probably best remembered not for the dresses they made, but for the ones they collected.
Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman dress. Image courtesy of Lou Lou Vintage.
Shannon Rodgers trained as an architect, and after college he left his native Ohio for New York City. There he found work on Broadway, designing and making sets for theater productions and working as a costume assistant. In 1932 Cecil B. DeMille saw his work and took Shannon to Hollywood to work on costumes for his movies. During the 1930s Shannon divided his time between California and New York, where he worked as a sketcher for several fashion houses.
Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman sheath dress. Image courtesy of Dorothea’s Closet.
Shannon spent WWII in the Army Transport Service. When the war ended he returned to New York where he learned of a design job at a cocktail dress maker called Martini. He applied for the job and was hired by a manager there, Jerry Silverman.
Jerry was a native New Yorker who graduated from Harvard at age 16, and then studied law. He soon left the law behind to work in the garment industry. He was first sales manager at Martini, and eventually he became a vice president in the company. Martini was known for their Paris couture inspired cocktail dresses.
In 1959 Shannon and Jerry formed their own company, Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman. Their product was day and afternoon dresses, though they often made cocktail dresses as well. The pair continued to attend the Paris couture shows, but they did not buy styles to copy outright. Instead Shannon focused on the details of interesting dresses, adapting a silhouette or sleeve or hem to fit their American customers’ tastes.
Shannon Rodgers (left) and Jerry Silverman (right). Image courtesy of Kent State Library.
Along with designing dresses, Shannon was a collector of antique clothing and textiles He and Jerry also collected antiques and decorative objects. As their design and manufacturing careers began to wind down, their thoughts turned to preserving the collection and making it available to the public.
Starting in 1979, Shannon and Jerry worked with Kent State University in Ohio, producing fashion shows as fund raisers. In 1983 the arrangement became permanent with the formation of the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Design and Merchandising and the Kent State University Museum. The Rodgers/Silverman collection was the neucleus of the new museum.
Advertisement from Vogue: . “…a supple sheath with a luxurious slubbed texture, etched with exquisite Madeira motifs and lined all the way with China silk. Shannon Rodgers designs it for Jerry Silverman. Beige, white or blue.” Image courtesy of Here & There.
Unfortunately, Jerry did not live to see the museum’s opening. He died in October 1984, and the museum was officially opened in September 1985. Shannon continued to work for the museum until his death in 1996. Today their legacy lives on at Kent State in the museum and the fashion school that bears their names.
The Museum at Kent State is well worth a visit. There are always several fashion exhibits running concurrently. If a trip to Ohio is not in your near future, check out their website, which as a new online gallery. http://www.kent.edu/museum/index.cfm
Thanks, Lizzie! And if you love the dresses above, most of them are for sale! Simply click on the links I’ve provided in the caption. Happy shopping!
Back in November, I found a pair of never-been-worn Fred Braun shoes. The olive color and kitten heel was such a cute combination, I couldn’t pass them up. It’s now August of the following year. I have yet to even attempt to wear them, and they fit me perfectly!
The post I wrote on Fred Braun received so many comments! Clearly, I had unknowingly stumbled upon a true Urban Shoe Myth. Fred Braun was a New York based shoe designer during the 1960s & 1970s. He had several boutiques throughout Manhattan, including: the Village, Lexington Avenue near 50th Street, and 34th Street. As the shoes became more in demand, they were carried in independent retailers throughout Brooklyn.
The shoes still have a cult following, and there are message boards where devotees reminisce about their favorite styles, and the iconic red and white striped boxes they came in. Fans explain that the shoes came in specialty sizes, and were beautifully made.
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Since I’m not going to wear these, I’d love to offer them to someone who appreciates them! I’m sure there is a happy home out there for this beautiful pair of Fred Braun shoes. They are unmarked, but fit me perfectly. I’m a US 8.5, European 39, and UK 6. I ship internationally. $50 and they are yours!
When I started this blog 2 years ago, I never envisioned that it would have blossomed into what it is today. The fact that people read what I write makes my heart melt. Initially, it was just a way to record ideas and things I found interesting. Sometimes these things are serious, sometimes they are silly. But never in my wildest dreams did I think my blog would be a platform to connect with so many fantastic people!
I’ve received overwhelming support for readers and friends. People seem to love my taste (thank you!) and the idea was placed in my head that I should start a store. Of course this idea was very interesting to me. So today, I’m very pleased to announce that my site now includes a store!
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I’ll be offering vintage , like the beaded top above, and original paintings. Since this is the beginning, I’m starting out small. Everything in the store is something that I’ve personally selected because I love it. And I’m obviously very particular about what I like! I hope you enjoy what I’ve picked. Please come back regularly. There will be new things all the time.
Shopping local helps small businesses in your area. It’s so important to support your neighborhood entrepreneur. Aside from stimulating the domestic economy and reducing environmental waste, which I am quite passionate about, local entrepreneurs stock really cool items. One of my favorite local places to shop is Loose Threads Boutique in Bethlehem.
Loose Threads Boutique offers clothing, shoes, and accessories from local designers and fair trade companies, primarilly from the U.S. and Australian markets. There is something for everyone, as I often bring my friends and family. We always leave with a stellar find!
Another thing I love: the store is impeccably decorated. I wish the owners would come to my home and re-do my interiors.
Laura, the owner, is so friendly and helpful. She offers honest advice about how the clothing looks on you. Laura takes pride in helping to style her customers and it really shows when you talk to her. She offers free alterations on denim purchases and always goes the extra mile to make sure you are thrilled with what your buying.
Some of my favorite Loose Threads Boutique items are:
Scotch Nail Polish: this is a non-toxic, eco-friendly nail polish. The formula is water-based. Now you can look good and feel great about lowering your environmental footprint.
Gentlefawn Sweater Dress: It’s never too soon to think about the next season. This amazing sweater dress is perfect for the first chilly days of late summer and early fall.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet my friend Lizzie Bramlett of The Vintage Traveler. We have been friends for a few months, but never met in person. These virtual friendships are one of the nicest things about blogging. You can literally connection with a kindred spirit you might never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Since Lizzie and I were both attending the Costume Society of America’s (CSA) symposium in Atlanta, we decided to meet early and shop for vintage. CSA is such a wonderful organization. It seeks to advance the study of dress and costume through publications, newsletters, events, and the symposium. Presenters range from textile conservators, museum curators, and independent researchers. Everyone is enthusiastic about fashion and happy to pass along useful information.
I flew down to Atlanta on a Wednesday morning. On 2 hours of sleep, I started my adventures with Lizzie in northern Atlanta. She picked me up at the Marta station, and we immediately started to work. Lizzie had a massive list of great places for us to shop. She had spent a lot of time in the Atlanta area, so she new all the good spots! Lucky us. We came across some really fun vintage, like this Munsing Wear onesie underwear.
We played around and tried lots of things on. Here is Lizzie with a great floral hat. She has lots of posts of me trying on clothes. There were so many great finds – even the ones that didn’t fit! Surprisingly, I didn’t need a second suitcase when I returned home.
I’ll be posting more about what I purchased in Atlanta in the upcoming days. Until then, please visit Lizzie’s blog to hear her perspective. (And encourage her to visit me up north!)
Today’s post is dedicated to one of my favorite accessories, shoes. It’s also dedicated to my former roommate, Kareem. (May we always have the problem of liking our clothing too much to get them dirty and not having shoes meant for long distance. . . )
Kareem is also the one that introduced me to one of the funniest shoe related videos. Years later, I think we always work some quote from this into the conversation. Getting past the weirdness is totally worth it. The video is amazingly quote-able when you are shopping (or defending your shoe collection to your husband/boyfriend/parents/haters. “I think you have too many shoes- SHUT UP!”).
So what exactly is my taste in shoes? Totally extravagant. I never have a good strategy when someone tells me, “Bring your walking shoes!” I panic, thinking:
So does that mean by 3 1/2 inch stilettos or 5 inch platforms? I think the platforms might hurt less, because the front part takes pressure off my foot . . .or I could wear my kitten heels, but they give me a blister after 3 hours. . .
Aside from a towering heel, I love a statement shoe. Red is usually my go-to color, because it’s so attention grabbing. I think that’s why women love Christian Louboutin so much – that little flash of red attracts so much attention. In graduate school, our graduating class had to plan, curate, install, and publicize an exhibition on the prized Louboutins. It was a major success, as you can imagine. So what was my favorite from the show?
Dita von Teese’s swarovski crystal pave cowboy boots. The temptress lent us her shoes for the show. She first work them for a Viva Mac presentation, during which she work the shoes, swarovski studded pasties and matching underwear, complete with a cute cowboy hat. (Kareem, I have so many ideas for next Halloween!) She then did a performance, straddling an enormous tube of Mac glitter lipstick.
Well, today my latest fashion must is a pair of shoes by the brand Le Creative Sweatshop. (Amazing name, no?) Before I show you the goods, let me tell you a bit about the company . . . .
Le Creative Sweatshop is a genius collaboration between 2 French designers: Mathieu Missiaen of NDEUR and Julien Morin or MAKE A PAPER WORLD.
Missiaen has been focused on the development of NDEUR shoes, which does the customization of vintage stilettos.
Morin specializes in communication and marketing. His avid interest in street wear prompted him to launch MAKE A PAPER WORLD in 2007. The company’s focus is creating communication strategies with paper as the main visual medium.
Here’s what their site has to say on the recent projects:
The Creativ Sweatshop studio has already worked on diverse projects such as a demo pack for MAMZ’HELL, a French DJ (www.myspace.com/djmamzhell), the creation of several fashion accessories for the Canadian stylist Heidi Ackerman (link to her website) and the New York photographer Tchad Muller (wall paper magazine/ link to his website).
They’ve also developed an interior design DIY pack in cardboard for a broader audience, in collaboration with Paristik (link). They’ll also be showcasing their work at the Prêt à Porter tradeshow in September 2009 in Paris, in the Shibuya area and will allow visitors to participate to an interactive installation made of 15 000 paper sculptures.
GUYS WE WANT TO KNOW WHERE TO BUY YOUR STUFF! TELL US AND TELL US NOW! So here are the shoes I’m obsessed with finding and buying. . . .
At first glance, you may think they are a rubix cube gone arwry . . .
Notice the jagged points, and intricate parts that create the surface of the shoe. The colors are out of this world.
Side View: that is one serious inclined shank . . . I wonder if they would hurt to wear? Does it matter?
They also come in white. Apparently, there is a matching cuff bracelet, too! Someome, please tell me where to find these!
And yes, they are real shoes - not a paper creation. They were in ION magazine. This image is from a shoot.
A last look at these amazing shoes . . .
NDEUR makes some other cool graffiti inspired shoes. You can check out his blog here. But still, I can’t figure out where to get them! Will you please tell me how? I will even start selling them for you, if need be!
Here are some great videos for all you new NDEUR fans out there
Super charming, and you get to see him design a pair of shoes! Notice that an ART GALLERY is selling his work. Hmm,is fashion art?