The above pic is me at my first middle school formal. I’m wearing a maroon velvet dress with a scalloped square neckline detailed in Italian lace. My mom bought it at an auction for $10 and here, at the age of 11 1/2, I’m ecstatically wearing it. It was my first vintage piece, special in and of itself, but more so because it was cheap.
A year and a half later, when I was 13, one of my great aunts died. I’d never met her. My great aunt’s son was having an estate auction of his mother’s things and my grandmother went to help. So did my mom and I. My grandmother told me that as part of my “payment” for help I could have anything “grandmother-approved” that I wanted and so I scooped up every last piece of costume jewelry in the house.
It wasn’t much and not necessarily valuable, but it was mine to do with what I liked. I was smitten.
Once I was older, I was able to find more vintage clothing. At one antique store somewhere in podunk Missouri I scored a full coat and tails antique tux jacket; a navy and brown jacket I often wore in college, which I realize only now with hindsight was probably an old marching band uniform; and a crinkly black shirt that looks Victorian or Edwardian.
I still have my most of my vintage pieces. In 1994, I went to Camden Markets in London in search of a black leather trench coat. In vain, I went through stall after stall not finding what I was looking for. I was getting toward the end of the market and thought I’d have to take the Northern Line back to my bedsit empty-handed. Then I walked into a large shed and there it was hanging from a two-story rafter like a flag. It has a home inside my armoire and has for the past two decades.
My vintage blue velvet blazer is a keeper. I can’t see myself ever selling it.
I have worn and reworn and worn again a more recent purchase- a sleeveless drop waist with a mustard yellow and dark green print. I love the cut and it fits me so well that I’ll eventually have a pattern made from it and remake it in a new pattern. And likely over and over and over again.
On this year’s anniversary trip (21 years! Yippee!), my husband and I went in a vintage clothing shop. I didn’t see anything that struck me- I swear sometimes the pieces call to me- but he spotted a men’s pleather jacket. It fit perfectly.
As I started writing this post and talking with him about how I love Love LOVE my vintage pieces, I said, “Don’t you love your vintage jacket?” He said he really liked it, but he didn’t love it the way I love my vintage clothing. We talked some more and then he had this bit of wisdom, “I think you love fashion the way I love music.” YES! That was so true. He spends a lot of free time on Angry Metal Guy and wishlisting and buying albums from Band Camp. I’ve been getting “fashion” magazines since my first subscriptions to Teen, YM, and Seventeen. Now, I spend a lot of time at the largest thrift store in the USA and on Etsy. I put outfits together in my head. Sometimes when I wear them, I manage to get photos of them.
All this to say, I’m turning my passion and knowledge into my own Etsy store. Some of the brooches above, for instance, are for sale now. But I’m keeping the daffodil one. I’m just too partial to it.
Come visit, check it out! I have a lot of stock and will be adding things as I find the time. Vintage purses, hats, bracelets, necklaces, and clothing coming soon!