I am pretty terrible at scheduling regular haircuts, but I finally made it to the salon today. I figured I ought to snap a few photos of my short, flouncy hair just in case I can't manage to replicate it myself.
I feel like I can finally breathe again now that grad school's done for the semester, and as long as the weather cooperates, I'd like to get a few outfit posts in over the next two weeks.
Happy holidays to everyone who visits this blog! And see you soon.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that my 1950's horse-print blouse had a neat story. Well, back in October, my sister Amy and I found an estate sale on Craigslist that advertised vintage clothing from the 1930's. The sale turned out to be a bust (all of the clothes were gone by the time Amy arrived), but Amy ended up meeting a fellow named Vince, who sells vintage clothing along with his wife, Michelle. He invited us to their house to look through their collection.
One phone call and a day or two later, we arrived at their place to discover one of the most incredible vintage clothing collections I have ever seen! A large shed, a trailer, and a living room were packed with beautiful things from every era. They gave us free reign to look through everything, and after hours of rooting, we emerged with a pile of favorites, including a 1930's floral feedsack housedress, a 1950's blue velvet party dress, and the 1950's nylon dress I'm wearing in these photos. Plus, a few weeks later, I called Michelle to purchase a dream floral Edwardian dress that I left behind the first time!
This 1950's dress may seem unassuming, but it's one of my favorite things I bought from Vince and Michelle. It's comfy, versatile, and easy to wear, and I love the tucks at the shoulders. Plus, it's the perfect canvas for especially ridiculous accessories, like this leaf crown.
Moral of the story: You never know what estate sale fail might lead to. Vince and Michelle are two of the nicest people I've come across in a while, and I'm already itching to visit them again.
This outfit seems like the sort of thing that a sporty college girl would have worn in the 1920's. I'm especially fond of the sweater, because it reminds me of Elsa Schiaparelli's trompe-l'oeil bow sweater from 1927. Every so often, vintage-loving bloggers who I admire post unbelievable things that they stumble upon--like original Dior "New Look" dresses--and it's my crazy dream to one day encounter a Schiaparelli garment stuffed into the back of a closet at an estate sale. I'm totally aware that it will probably never happen, but when you get up at 5:00 AM on a Saturday to stand in line in the dark for an hour or more, you need some motivation.Left: Student archer Margaret F. Fleming at Mount Holyoke College, 1925 (Source). Right: Rope fire drill at Smith College, 1920-1939 (Source). Elsa Schiaparelli bow sweater (Source).
Detail from Written Room by Parastou Forouhar.
I found this top at an estate sale a few months ago. It's basically my dream blouse--blush pink and heavily pleated with a small collar and crystal buttons down the back. Sure, it's a size or two too big, but when have I ever let that stop me?
I'm constantly on the lookout for vintage dance costumes, so when I found this wool skirt, custom-made for a 1950's figure skater, I purchased it in a heartbeat! I used to think a lot about how to "modernize" vintage, but lately, I just want to be in costume. Figure skating skirts, leaf crowns, sequin vests, Edwardian petticoats...
I'm not sure what it is about hot air balloons that I love so much. I think there's just something wonderfully surreal about floating away in a big, colorful balloon. And I can only imagine how incredible it would have been to walk into an air show or World's Fair in the early 1900's and see these flying machines tethered down indoors!
I always seem to pull out this hot air balloon skirt when I'm feeling particularly stressed--like today, when I felt down about this blog and somehow managed to burn a 50's skirt I was ironing for my etsy shop. On off days like today, I try to remember that getting dressed ought to be joyful, and I think of all the times my dance students have told me I'm "so pretty." Eventually, the uncertainty recedes and I start to feel lighter.
The first air show at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. September 30th, 1909. Photographed in Autochrome Lumière by Léon Gimpel. (via Art Nouveau and Art Deco) Metal hot air balloon wall sculpture by Curtis Jere (American, 20th century). (via Antique Helper)
My mom, sister, and I went antique shopping last weekend (which I thought sounded much more appealing than working on a paper due Monday). My favorite antique mall was having a sale, and I ended up buying a few things, including an Edwardian skirt (which needs a good soak in Oxi Clean), metal globe, and apothecary bottle.
The star of my outfit was this 1950's blouse printed with horses. The blouse has a neat story (involving estate sale fail, the nicest couple, and the most incredible collection of antique clothing I've ever seen!), but I'm going to save it for another post.
That last picture is pretty representative of my post-antiquing look--crazy excited, a little cheesy, and more than a little rumpled.
I really love 1930's and 1940's knitwear, but I rarely find them at Pittsburgh estate sales. (And when I do, they're usually completely riddled with moth holes.) So when I saw this dress in Lauren's shop, I knew I had to snap it up!
It feels good to post here again. I started graduate school in August, and to say that I've been stressed out would be an understatement. Estate sales, etsy shop updates, and some spectacular additions to my vintage collection have been welcome distractions, and I need to try a bit harder to share them with you.
This dress came from the same estate sale where I purchased the orange striped dress I wore a few posts ago. I was planning on selling it in my etsy shop because the waist was snug, but when I put it on today, it fit like a dream. So I guess it'll be staying with me for a while! (This instance isn't too bad, but I have serious issues letting things go for the shop...even things that will never ever fit me.) Sensible as always, I wore it to go pick up a barrister bookcase that I found on Craigslist. That's me; hauling furniture in snug-fitting 50's dresses!
Speaking of furniture, I've been accumulating things for my apartment, but it's slow-going. I never realized just how painfully expensive furniture can be. So far I've got a chrome and yellow laminate table, a metal kitchen cart from the 50's, and the aforementioned barrister bookcase. I have my sights set on a mid-century modern desk, but everything I've found has been way out of my budget. Feel free to leave any decorating links you find inspiring, as I'm pretty obsessed with all things home related.
1950's dress via an estate sale
I've been acquiring lots of small curiosities at antique fairs and estate sales and on the Internet lately. These sorts of things rarely make it into outfit photos, so I thought I might post a series of "bits"--jewelry, photos, ephemera, and objects I've picked up for my new apartment.
Above photo: A World's Fair bracelet purchased at the Washington Antiques Fair from the nicest old lady.
Several Victorian-era calling cards also purchased at the Washington Antiques Fair. These are my new favorite; I love how small and charming they are.
Probably the best vintage photo I've encountered. A 1920's ballerina dressed in the most perfect flower costume. I definitely overpaid for this on ebay (auction-induced hysteria?), but I love it way too much to care.
I went into the city today to see the new Impressionist exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It was a really beautiful show--with Japanese-inspired prints by Mary Cassatt, keyhole nudes by Degas, and paintings by all the usual suspects, like Monet and Renoir. But my favorite pieces were definitely the turn-of-the-century photographs--all hazy nudes and moody portraits. I'd read about Julia Margaret Cameron, but most of the other photographers were new to me. I need to hunt down a good book about early photography so I can make a proper post about it. Art history buffs, feel free to comment with any suggestions!
My favorite part of today was eating a hot dog at a Victorian ice cream parlor near my house. My sister's favorite part was finding an amazing ruffled 20's/30's dress at an antique shop. (We reluctantly left it behind because it was really more of a scrap--ripped and discolored and missing rhinestones on the belt buckle.) And my mom's favorite part was eating a strawberry sundae at a local farm.
Now that's a Saturday I can get behind.
See, guys? Delicious!
1950's dress via an estate sale
There are two fantastic multi-dealer antique stores a few minutes from my house, and my sister and I visit frequently. A couple weeks ago, we discovered that a new vintage clothing seller had taken up residence in one of the stores, and just yesterday, we realized that the seller is actually a pair of vintage-loving sisters. I don't know about you, but I'm usually more likely to buy vintage from someone with a story (a blogger I love, a lady selling an old dress of her mother's, etc.), and a pair of vintage sisters definitely fits the bill.
I found this 60's shirtwaist dress in their booth yesterday. I have to wear black for my gallery attendant job at the art museum, and this seemed perfect; it's simple and classic, but the embroidery on the chest makes it a bit special.
As for non-vintage goings-on, I'm busy preparing for my dance studio's recital (and biting my nails worrying about how my little ones will do onstage). I signed the lease for an apartment in the city and will be starting grad school this August! (I'm going for my Master's in Library and Information Science, specializing in Archives, Preservation, and Records Management... a mouthful, I know.) Other than that, life has been art museum work, estate sale success (I need to post some of the stuff I've found), and yoga classes. Not too shabby, I'd say.
1960's shirtwaist dress
J.Crew ballet flats
I promise that I will eventually get back into outfit photos, but until then, I'm pretty darn excited to announce that I've opened a vintage shop on etsy! My only real rule for my shop was that I had to absolutely love every single piece in there. So every time I found something amazing at an estate sale or antique fair that wasn't my size, I scooped it up and squirreled it away. I've only listed five items to start, but I hope to continue adding inventory and improving my photography over the next few months. Woo! Feel free to go have a look, and if it's any incentive, I do have lots of extras I plan on including in the packages...
I've recently started a small collection of old photos. I stumble across boxes and boxes of them at flea markets and antique stores, but I always feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pictures and generally don't take any home. Then, a few weeks ago, the girl in the photo above caught my eye while I was browsing the antique loft at a local farm. I don't know what about her touched me so, but I bought the picture without a second thought. A few weeks later, I came across the bespectacled lady below and was equally smitten. It was only when I laid them both on my dresser at home that I realized they have exactly the same mysterious Mona Lisa sort of smile.
I have one more set of vacation photos for you guys. My brother and I spent the last few days of our trip in Kyoto, where we did some serious sightseeing. On the agenda: love gods, golden temples, and (to quote a touristy website I consulted) "the ultimate torii gate experience."Photo snapped on our guided tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Walking garden on the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. We saw this logo everywhere we went in Japan. I looked it up, and apparently it's for Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., one of the country's largest delivery service companies. Crazy cat lady that I am, I absolutely love it. Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto known for its large wooden veranda and beautiful views. Part of the Kiyomizu-dera temple complex, the Jishu shrine is dedicated to Okuninushi, a god of love and matchmaking. Most of the shrines we visited sold little charms, but these ("Improve the love fate of your zodiac sign") were my favorite. The Jishu shrine had lots of informative English signage. A statue of Okuninushi and his rabbit messenger. Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple whose top two floors are covered in gold leaf. Kinkakuji's gardens include these statues at which people toss coins for luck. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for the thousands of torii gates that line the walking trails behind its main buildings. Fox-themed "ema" votive pictures at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.