- How long have you been collecting vintage clothing for?
I bought my first piece of vintage clothing going into my senior year of high school in 1993...so about 15 years now. It was a 50's pink lacy prom dress that I found at a local vintage clothing store. I intended to wear it to the prom, but I never quite made it there...the guy was an idiot but I still have the dress!
- What got you into vintage clothing?
I would think every little girl's fashion obsessions start with playing dress-up in her mother's closet and jewelry box, no? My parents used to refinish deco furniture that they'd buy at auctions, where they'd also pick up boxed lots of other random things. So there was always vintage and antique things around the house that I loved playing with and trying on. My mom never kept any of her clothes from the 50's and 60's, which I'm still beyond grumpy about- the woman was seriously cool with the wardobe to match.
- What are your favorite eras of clothing?
My all-time favorite era for vintage clothing is the mid 50's into the early 60's, when it was all about leopard and lurex! I'm crazy in love with men's vintage from this same era too- I almost like men's vintage better than women's, is that wrong? When it's not 50's, I have a soft spot for 40's rayons~ men's shirts to women's dresses. The fabric is divine and the novelty prints are far better than anything a modern designer could ever dream of!
- What do you like about clothing from these eras?
I love the demure sex appeal of clothing from the 50's. The sweaters and skirts were tight as sin and it showed off your every curve, yet you were still covered up and not overtly skanky. It's the time when women's fashion really started getting more risque publicly and into the average woman's home and women started owning up to their sexuality. At least "a certain kind" of woman did!
- Who are some of your favorite vintage designers?
Dior, Adrian, Claire McCardell, Dorothy O'Hara, Ceil Chapman...I'd maim for a ridiculously over the top Bes-Ben hat!
- Who are some of your favorite modern designers?
I'm kind of (OK, not really) embarrassed to say that I don't follow or pay attention to modern designers. I don't care too much for modern lines, but I do like Vivienne Westwood and even Gwen Stefani rocked some good 50's-inspired leopard prints. Otherwise, meh.
- What would be your ultimate vintage find?
Because I love men's vintage so much, I'd love to score some new old stock 40's gabardine Hollywood jackets and in large sizes of course. Does that seem like I'm aiming too low? I just covet them so! But since we're talking an "ultimate vintage find", I'll shoot for the stars and say I'd kill for a Fortuny. Or two. It could happen, right? I'll keep dreaming.
- Where do you do the majority of your vintage shopping- garage, estate and rummage sales, thrift stores, vintage stores, online vintage stores or eBay?
I haven't gone into a thrift store in months. These days I shop in vintage clothing stores or go to estate sales and auctions. Rummage sales at churches can have hidden vintage treasure! I love getting calls from people for me to come and dig through their attics or closets, which is the best feeling ever. The thrill of not knowing what you'll find is better than anything!
- Is vintage clothing popular in the city that you live in?
No way. At least, not that I've ever witnessed here in nowheresville. I live in a university town, so the only vintage you see is bad 70's polyester on the college kids going to Halloween parties. Lame. Not a very hip kind of college town, is it?
- Who are some of your favorite style icons?
Marilyn and Mamie are good, but Jayne Mansfield is even better! My own wardrobe is inspired by the teenagers in 50's horror and delinquent B-flicks, which sort of runs into my answer in the next question....
- What are your favorite vintage movies, music and television programs?
I'm crazy about those bad/awesome 50's rock and roll movies like Don't Knock the Rock, Carnival Rock, The Big Beat, High School Confidential, etc. Those movies had fantastic music with some "up and comer" rockabilly and doo wop groups, with the likes of Johnny Carroll, Gene Vincent Johnny Burnette Trio, LaVern Baker and Connie Francis, just to name a few that I adore! Modern tv is wretched, though I am happy about Mad Men!
- Do you collect any other types of collectibles or antiques?
I hoard bolero-and-dress sets (or just boleros on their own) as well as vintage cardigans/sweaters from the 50's and 60's, the beaded and Orlon cardigans being my favorites. As far as non-clothing goes, I collect original 50's pink things like radios, kitchenware, clocks, etc. My personal score of course would be my infamous 50's pink TV. I love anything MCM and kitcshy and have a penchant for tacky vintage 50's/60's Christmas decorations. I must have been misplaced in time, because I just feel very much normal and at home being surrounded by these things!
This post was originally published on July 6, 2008.