Lulu's Vintage

The Style Council! Ang of Dorothea's Closet

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This month's vintage lover is Angela Petraline of Des Moines, Iowa.
    Ang owns Dorothea's Closet Vintage online, has an eBay seller ID of dorotheascloset and has a bricks and mortar location in Des Moines at 1733 Grand Avenue.

-How long have you been collecting vintage clothing for?

    I suppose I've been collecting for 15 years or so, wearing it longer. I mixed vintage from thrifts with contmporary clothing back in the 80s in high school, not really realizing I was doing it. I began to collect it more seriously as I started wearing more after college when I discovered the rockabilly and swing scenes...finally finding some people who liked what I liked, both in fashion and music. Growing up in small town Iowa, I had no idea those subcultures existed! My exposure to that, going to VLV and the like is what finally encouraged me to really go all out with wearing vintage. I've evolved away from the strict period looks but still enjoy mixing those looks into my own now.

-What got you into vintage clothing?

    No one solid answer to that. Growing up around wonderful big band music (my Grandfather played in a band), watching shows at my Grandparent's house when I was little like Dean Martin and the Gold Diggers, playing dress up in my Grandma's jewelry and fabulous (tiny, size 4!) Springolator shoes...my Mom's wild platforms and cool 70's outfits. I've always gravitated toward fashion, working in retail for 20-some years with most of that in display dressing mannequins. Somehow my love of fashion and appreciation for older things (music, decor, movies) meshed into a love of vintage clothing and led me to where I am now.

-What are your favorite eras of clothing?

    While I love many things about each era, I am always awe struck by the great gowns of the 30s. The bias cut & draping, the attention to detail...dramatic sleeves, stricking back cut-outs, luxe textiles. Even the sporty day dresses and hats of the 30s have so much feminine charm to them. 40s era pieces run a close second and I've a weakness for 20s beaded pieces as well...hard to narrow down favorites!

-What do you like about clothing from these eras?

    Details, silhouette...the lines, the textiles. The glamorous image they evoke of a more refined time.

-Who are some of your favorite vintage designers?

    I love Gilbert Adrian's 30s and 40s pieces...Poiret, Chanel, Givenchy, Claire McCardell, Charles James, Germaine Monteil, Martha Gale, Donald Brooks...I'm sure I'm not thinking of all the ones I like! I do love Ceil Chapman's pieces, her way of draping is unmistakable and always interesting. There are some great labels, too, who must have employed wonderful designers...I'll never pass on a Samuel Grossman dress from the 50s and older, always lovely pieces.

-Who are some of your favorite modern designers?

    I'd be lying if I named any as I don't really pay attention. I probably should!

-What would be your ultimate vintage find?

    A personal holy grail is an Adrian. I'd love to find Fortuny just to have held one in my hands...same with a Poiret or a great 20s Chanel. I wouldn't mind some 40s Ferragamo heels in my size, either!

-Where do you do the majority of your vintage shopping- garage, estate and rummage sales, thrift stores, vintage stores, online vintage stores or eBay?

    Now that I have a shop open to the public Wednesday to Saturday, a website and an eBay store to manage (along with being a single Mom with a 4 year old), my shopping is very limited. I rarely hit thrifts or garage sales...the occasional estate sale maybe. I do most of my shopping for myself in my own store! Otherwise I hunt eBay and websites, I like to shop online and save myself the time of getting in the car and hauling the little one everywhere while I hunt.

-Is vintage clothing popular in the city that you live in?

    Somewhat. The shop is doing well, and I think its existence and placement (a very visible corner with lots of windows) has exposed it to a lot of people who hadn't considered it as a viable fashion option. I work very hard to present my shop as a boutique, not as a costuem or novelty shop full of things to wear as a whim or to a theme party. I'm involved in local fashion shows with other boutiques that carry contemporary clothing, hoping also to pique the interest of even more fashion-savvy locals. Its steadily improving!

-Who are some of your favorite style icons?

    Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer, Frank Sinatra (sexy, dapper gent!), William Powell, Veronica Lake, Laureen Bacall, Josephine Baker, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn.

-What are your favorite vintage movies, music and television programs?

    I love the Thin Man films, "the Women", "the Stork Club" with Betty Hutton (great fashin scenes!), "How to Marry a Millionaire", all of Sinatra's films and music. "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "The Great Gatsby", "Grey Gardens"...so many more I can't think of. Music, Sinatra...the Rat Pack, crooners like Bing & Mel Torme, be-bop, big band and swing...rockabilly, western swing, lounge music. I'm a fan of Diana Dors and love the obscure sort of sex kitten singers of the 50s & 60s. I suppose it does count as vintage now since they were popular in the 80s so I can say it...I'm a huge Duran Duran fan!

-Do you collect any other types of collectibles or antiques?

    I do decorate with vintage...sun room is atomic era with a pink and aqua bar and bar stools, living room more of a mix of that and Danish Modern. My dining room leans toward 40s tropical meets Asian motifs. Bathroom done in pinks with lots of girlie glam touches, which features my collection of Daniel Green satin boudoir slippers...the only offical collection I have. Oh, I do have a samll (15 or so?) collection of leopard hats. My shoe collection is vast but since I wear them, I guess its not a collection so much as an addiction!

    *Thanks to Ang for answering our Style Council interview questions!

    You too could be featured on Lulu's Vintage Style Council!

    Just email me- lulusvintage (at) yahoo.com a photo of yourself wearing vintage (it can be a modern outfit accented with vintage accessories or a complete vintage ensemble) and answer my

This post was originally published on November 4, 2007.