Monday, April 13, 2009

Vintage Versatility


Last weekend I cleaned out my closet. I got rid of several things that were past their prime, made note of holes in my wardrobe, and put together a list of things I need. I spent the entire day Friday at the mall searching for those few items. What a disheartening experience - especially after spending my days immersed in vintage fashion magazines. Fabrics that make you go, "ewwww". Colors that are jarring to the nerves. Shoddy workmanship galore. And prices I'm unwilling to pay for all the above. Give me vintage any day.

Whatever happened to easy shopping? Whatever happened to co-ordinates that you can mix and match to form a capsule wardrobe? Why do I have to go downstairs to buy a dress, but then wander all over the 2nd floor trying to find a cute cardigan to wear with it? Why can't this season's colors work with last season's? Is it too much to ask that said cardigan also work with a skirt and top already in my closet?

Needless to say, I ended up tired and cranky, and a few of the items I purchased in desperation will have to go back. I dread returning to that hellhole mall.

Here is what delights me this morning, both from the summer of 1954.

Toni Owens cotton separates in a dalmation print. You could buy the shirt, shorts, skirt, and sash belt, then mix-and-match to your heart's content. Going out for the entire day? Wear the blouse and shorts and carry the skirt in your tote bag. When you're ready for cocktails or dinner, slip the skirt on and you're all set!


In a similar concept, Bonwit Teller offered this cotton swimsuit with a matching skirt. Wear the swimsuit to the beach in the morning, slip on the skirt for lunch on the patio. Rinse out the suit, then take an afternoon siesta. When you're ready for cocktails or dinner, slip the swimsuit and skirt back on, add a touch of jewelry and you're set to go! If the moonlight beckons you for a midnight swim, slip off the skirt and jewelry. What could be easier?

12 comments:

Bonjour Madame said...

This is what frustrates me too and relates to my last comment and your last post. It is hard to shop now especially in dept stores. Things are hard to find. Unless it's a smaller boutique where things are already coordinated, it sort of makes it easier. However, all of the stores are really different in what they offer so you can shop at one boutique but it's hard to mix and match from other stores. Unlike others I do not like the thrill of the hunt. I loathe going to tj maxx and stores like that. Give me less selection in an organized manner any day.

Sal said...

Brilliant. And adorable to boot. But I wonder if the reason that such ensembles fell out of favor was a consumer desire for more variety ... I also feel like fashion is moving away from matching ANYTHING and towards an undefinable hodgepodge. Not condoning that, just noting it.

sonia334 said...

I have had similar shopping experiences before, especially with awful fabrics and poor workmanship. I've turned instead to sewing more often and creating a wardrobe with fabrics I love.

lucitebox said...

You want to have a really crappy day shopping? Go to Marshall's on Easter Sunday only to find it's closed. Then go to Sears because it's next door to Marshall's.

Look around at every bit of schlock in the women's department even though you're just there for Levis. They carry Levis, but not the style you always buy. Leave wondering when all these things that are in store at Sears are going to appear at a thrift store since they're already dated and fugly.

I sometimes pretend "If I bought something here, what would it be?" There was nothing I would buy except maybe one shirt that was part of the Land's End store inside Sears.

You definitely have the right idea--make that list, stick to it and don't buy things that don't suit your needs/style. And don't go to Sears! Ha ha!

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

JC Penney was the same - just yuck. I only went in out of desperation, but turned around and left after one circuit of the main aisle. And Macy's star has fallen drastically in my eyes since they bought out every other department store in existence. Macy's sales floor is so crowded and confusing, it is very difficult to shop there. I end up going around in circles looking for what I want.

Penny said...

i totally agree with you here! people are so desperate for 'the new' that they have sacrificed all sense of quality. i'll take vintage any day - for the beautiful craftsmanship and fantastic design aesthetic.

Gladys said...

I hate the mall, I hate todays fashion choices. I want to go back in time and shop at the department stores of my youth then step back in to my machine and be in today and hang my gorgeous new clothes in my closet.

My daughter made me a skirt to wear over my bathing suit that matches it beautifully. I guess now I'm going to have to learn to sew.

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Lucky you, Gladys! I know how to sew, but haven't for years except for special occasions. Maybe I need to jump on the vintage sewing bandwagon! Hmmmmm, now there's a thought.

Kristin said...

Inspiration to create a vintage ensemble. Now I just have to learn how to sew. Ah ha ha ha.

lucitebox said...

What I don't understand is how JC Penny can even afford to advertise on national t.v. during prime time. Who buys things there?

It's so sad to see what's out there right now compared with the moderate priced kinds of things that were available decades ago. I'm sad. Lately, I'm buying clothing at Target and getting compliments. That's right. Target.

Frances Baker said...

It definately seems that consumerism has gone out of control, with cheap, poor quality garments available everywhere, made from non sustainable fabrics that won't biodegrade when they're thrown into landfill two months later when they become outdated/fall apart. I haven't been to a department store in months. I try to only buy vintage or sew my own clothes for a better fit. The only things I buy new these days are socks, underwear and tights!

[Tara] said...

I agree! Shopping at the mall these days is frustrating! I often have to wait and look for months before I find just the thing I'm looking for, and then I usually find it online or at a vintage/thrift store. The mall rarely produces results...except for a fattening, gooey pretzel, LOL ;)

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