Lulu's Vintage

The Style Council! Amy Mayberry of Viva Vintage Clothing

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Our latest lovely Style Council participant is Amy Mayberry of Chicago, Illinois.
Amy owns the online vintage clothing store Viva Vintage Clothing

-How long have you been collecting vintage clothing for?

It's been about 20 years (!) since I first started buying vintage clothing and accessories. I started haunting the thrift stores when I was in high school in the late 1980's, looking for cool men's suit jackets to wear with the sleeves rolled up, and sparkly rhinestone pins. My first vintage dress was a 1950's formal in copper taffeta and lace--so glamorous! In college I acquired a lot of great pieces form the vintage shop where I worked for several years. After I opened my former bricks-and-mortar shop in 1998, I pretty much went overboard. (Had to take over a whole room for my closet...)

-What got you into vintage clothing?

At first, it was the lure of being "different," having a unique look and style. Later, as I gained more experience with vintage clothing, I came to appreciate the quality of materials and the workmanship. I also love the sheer variety of clothing available: unlike modern fashion which offers only a few "in" looks at any one time, with vintage you can find clothing that works with your body type, and disregard the trend of the moment if it doesn't suit you.

-What are your favorite eras of clothing?

The era I most love to look at it is the 1930's. However, since clothing from the early to mid-1950s suits my body best, the largest part of my personal vintage wardrobe is from that era.

-What do you like about clothing from these eras?

The 1930s: the long, lean silhouette, the whimsical and sculptural details, the fabulous hats, bags and shoes! The 1950s: the full-skirted and the hourglass-shaped dresses (everything from the simple cotton sundress to cocktail attire), Lucite handbags, and dramatic rhinestone costume jewelry.

-Who are some of your favorite vintage designers?

Shopping for myself, I'm not focused on designers as much as on the general look of an item. I do like sweet Suzy Perette dresses, Pucci and Shaheen for prints, Lilli Ann for suits and jackets, and almost anything Dior of Schiaparelli (wish I had some!)

-Who are some of your favorite modern designers?

Prada, Gaultier and Zac Posen

-What would be your ultimate vintage find?

A totally bizarre hat by Bes-Ben or Schiaparelli, at a price I could afford.

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

While I occasionally go to estate and garage sales, most of my website inventory (and also my personal vintage purchases) comes from local individuals who contact me to sell a few pieces or whole estates.

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

I would say yes, although a certain Midwestern conservatism keeps it in check. I see more vintage pieces used as accents (a bag, a necklace, etc.) rather that a lot of head-to-toe vintage fabulousness--although there is some!

-Who are some of your favorite style icons?

Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, and Marlene Dietrich.

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

Movies: Ball of Fire, Gold Diggers of 1933 (and other Warner pre-Code films), It Happened One Night, The Women, and The Best of Everything (for the clothes), to name a few.

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

My largest and most out-of-control collection is definitely vintage hats: I sometimes open up a hatbox and say, "Oh, I'd forgotten all about YOU!" I also collect vintage ceramic cats, black ones in particular (although I will pick up others, especially if I feel sorry for them, languishing on the back corner of a garage sale table).

Thanks to Amy 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 interview questions

This post was originally published on September 13, 2009.