Memory of summer

Yesterday The Style Line celebrated their first anniversary at Mid-Atlantic Mercantile in Lawrenceville. Shop owner Emily Slagel invited my sister and I to bring a capsule collection of late-summer vintage clothing to the event, and we spent the afternoon sipping cocktails from the Livermore and generally having an amazing time.

I wore this vintage 1950's skirt that I found at an estate sale a few weeks ago. It's an unusual garment. The skirt has button holes around its hem, and the button holes fasten onto buttons around the hem of the attached half-slip, creating a bustle effect. The colors remind me of childhood vacations to North Carolina--peaceful and nostalgic and surprisingly reflective of my mood these days.

Outfit details:
Anthropologie camisole
1950's skirt (part of a blouse and skirt set) purchased at an estate sale
Vintage shell necklace purchased at a flea market
Madewell heels



Every so often I suffer from vintage burn-out. A customer is unhappy with a dress. Or a pile of garments purchased at an estate sale turn out to be riddled with holes. Or my vintage collection seems lacking compared to the items I "like" on Instagram... Vintage burn-out. Something usually shakes me out of it, and this time, it was the outfit I'm wearing in these photos and--more specifically--a friend's reaction to it. The notion that 100-year-old undergarments can look modern and interesting is so, so great! And the possibility that an outfit might spark someone else's creativity is even better.

Outfit details:
Edwardian blouse purchased at an estate sale
Edwardian skirt purchased at a flea market
J.Crew slip
1950's belt purchased at an estate sale
Madewell heels
Victorian mourning necklace via The Deeps
Antique bracelet purchased at an estate sale


Almost summer

It isn't summer yet, but it sure feels like it. I've been drinking almost-daily frappuccinos (which I can only justify because I still have Starbucks gift cards left over from Christmas), and ladybugs have taken up residence in one of my bedroom windows. Two signs that the weather is changing. It was actually a little warm for jeans, but I felt very summery in this high-rise pair from Gap and a funny 80's wrap top that I tied in an enormous bow. And the bracelet! A few weeks ago I went to an estate sale with tons of vintage jewelry. It was mostly costume and not all that old, but while I was digging, the woman running the sale started unpacking some extra boxes. She handed me a Ziploc bag filled with jewelry, and when I opened it, I realized it was all Victorian! Portrait pins, lockets, monogrammed bracelets, etc. This bracelet was one of my favorites in the bag, and it only cost me $3!

Outfit details:
Vintage polka dot wrap top via etsy
Anthropologie tank
Gap jeans
Nine West flats
Antique bracelet purchased at an estate sale


Ode to common things

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda loved "things." His three homes are filled with his treasures--colored glass, figureheads from old ships, masks from around the world--and he composed odes to birds, to salt, to socks. In "Ode to Common Things," he writes, "many things conspired to tell me the whole story. Not only did they touch me, or my hand touched them: they were so close that they were a part of my being, they were so alive with me that they lived half my life and will die half my death." He believed that everything ever made bore "the trace of someone’s fingers on their handle or surface, the trace of a distant hand lost in the depths of forgetfulness."

I can relate to Pablo Neruda, because that's exactly how I feel about vintage clothing. That by slipping on a dress I might be able to share a piece of the previous owner's spirit. It's not about capital-F Fashion at all. So I wasn't even mad today when the wind kept blowing my dress askew or passersby stared. I felt romantic and content, illuminated by the hazy afternoon sunlight, and it was a nice feeling.

Outfit details:
1940's dress via Dethrose Vintage
Madewell heels


Kicky Feet Vintage at Trade Union

On March 29th, I was one of the vendors at Trade Union, a newly-established biannual trunk show held at the Mine Factory here in Pittsburgh. It was the first time I've ever sold vintage clothing at a show, and I was so glad that the incredibly talented Laila Archuleta took a few photos of my booth. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and keep your eyes on the Facebook page for more information about the next one!



I know it's a little silly to start a blog post by talking about the weather, so I'll keep it short and just say that we've had a few really beautiful days in Pittsburgh. I've been eyeing my floral rayons all winter, and I finally pulled one out of my closet for a coffee and tea date with my sister.

Nothing much new to report since I last updated this blog. Life has been dance studio choreography, yoga classes, and prep for the Vintage Mixer. It's this Saturday, April 12th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Heinz History Center, and I'll be selling clothing from the 20's through the 60's. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you there!

Outfit details:
1940's dress via etsy
Coach belt
Nine West flats


Kicky Feet Vintage

Just stopping in to announce that I will be selling vintage clothing at several venues here in Pittsburgh! I've been trying to expand my vintage clothing business, Kicky Feet Vintage, and a couple great opportunities have popped up in the past few months. For one, a selection of my items will soon be available at Mid-Atlantic Mercantile, a boutique in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. And second, I will be a vendor at two upcoming markets. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, stop by and say hello! (And keep your eye on my Instagram for sneak peeks of some of my favorite pieces.)

Trade Union, Saturday, March 29th, from 11AM - 6PM at the Mine Factory, 201 N. Braddock Ave.

Vintage Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 12th, from 10AM - 3PM at the Heinz History Center

Also, I'm definitely not abandoning this blog! The weather's warming up, and I'm ready to get into the swing of outfit posts again.



Today was finally "warm" enough for an outfit that didn't involve multiple layers of pants. Bundled up in cozy flannel, thick wool, and an oversized hat from knitting rockstar Yokoo (purchased during her fantastic after-Thanksgiving sale), I felt very much like a Scandinavian grandma.

Outfit details:
Penfield shirt via Mid-Atlantic Mercantile (a Pittsburgh clothing boutique)
1950's wool skirt purchased at an estate sale
1940's men's bowling shoes purchased at a (different) estate sale
Yokoo hand-knit "English Thompson Hat" in "Walnut Shell"
J.Crew belt


Verna, part 1

Lately, I've been loving the vintage haul photos that people have been posting on Instagram, so I thought I might try to do something similar here on the blog. I'm always curious what other people find at estate sales, buying appointments, and flea markets, what condition the clothes are in, and how they go about bringing them back to life.

The clothes in this post came from the estate sale of an opera singer named Verna who performed in Germany and Switzerland during the 40's and 50's. My sister Amy and I purchased 13 pieces (some for us, some to sell) as well as two souvenir hankies from Europe and a stack of Verna's personal photos. I'll definitely be making a second post with scans of the photos and more about Verna herself, but for now, here are the clothes I purchased and what I'm doing to make them wearable again.

We found four suits--blazers and pencil skirts--from the 40's and 50's. (Not pictured is a red and black plaid set that looked blown-out in every. single. photo.) The skirts are fairly basic, but the jackets have incredible details: embroidered arrows, unusual buttons, and wool that looks like multicolored television static up close. They're in such great shape, but two of the blazers have discoloration inside their collars. I'm always reluctant to take vintage wool to the dry cleaner, so I may attempt to spot clean them. (Or not; you can't really see the discoloration when the blazers are being worn, and I'd hate to ruin these.)

I almost left this black 50's dress behind because it's made of a funny synthetic that feels like nylon. Now that I've had time to think it over, I have to admit that the material drapes really beautifully, and the dress fits like a dream. Unfortunately, this one needed/needs a lot of work. I spot treated a few large brown stains on the skirt, then hand washed the dress in a mild detergent. The stains came out (yes!), but there are seam breaks under each arm that need repaired, and the skirt will have to be taken up at the waist and hem to get rid of several small holes.

We found a bunch of great separates at the estate sale (some in better shape than others) and ended up buying two skirts and one sweater. I don't have any photos of the first skirt--a sturdy black cotton one from the 50's--because it's currently soaking in a basin in the sink. But I was able to take photos of a soft-as-clouds pale blue angora sweater and a black wool skirt with pintucks. I spot treated the skirt (more brown staining), then hand washed it in a detergent designed for wool and cashmere. The skirt's hem still needs repaired in a few spots, but it looks a whole lot better, and I think the sweater will be good as new after a quick steam.

I don't buy a whole lot of clothing from the 60's, but I really like this brown plaid wool dress. It's accented with metallic gold threads, doesn't seem to have a single hole, and will be good to go as soon as I steam it.

The main reason this photo is so close-up is because I wanted to avoid shooting the crazy underarm staining. This dress is definitely a project, but we couldn't leave it behind! Look at those tiny matching fabric-covered buttons (never mind that one is missing). I have a hard time saying no to printed cotton 50's dresses, because they respond so well to soaking, but one 8-hour soak later we don't seem to have made any progress...

And finally, a little bit of magic in the form of a floor-length plaid taffeta 40's gown. This was the first thing I grabbed when I walked into the sale, and it is made even better by the fact that I have a photo of the original owner wearing it! (I didn't take photos of the matching black velvet bolero or another long 40's gown made of black and white lace and accented with rhinestones!)


Fashion Frocks

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd purchased a pile of sample cards created by Fashion Frocks, a dress manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1908 to the 1970's. I finally finished scanning my favorites, so here they are! I love everything about these cards--the carefully attached fabric swatches, the awkwardly funny ad copy, the matching turban pictured above that "will complete this fashionable masterpiece for a tiny sum!"

I forgot to mention that the lot I purchased included a few cards from a similar company called Janalene. They're from 1940, look slightly 30's to me (something about the way the women are drawn), and are at least as fantastic as the Fashion Frocks cards. (And a note: Clicking on any of the images in this post will open a larger version in a new window.)


Animal crackers in my soup

I recently purchased 28 Fashion Frocks style cards. Fashion Frocks was a dress manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1908 to the 1970's. They sold their dresses door-to-door (Avon style) and gave their salespeople sample cards with illustrations of each dress style accompanied by fabric swatches. The Fashion Frocks cards I purchased are from the early 1940's, and feeling inspired by the gorgeous printed rayons, I decided to toss on this fun elephant dress I got for a tiny sum (in the neighborhood of $20) from Lawrence. It seems that folks who collect vintage have a couple categories they love best--printed cotton 50's dresses, Edwardian whites, or, in my case, printed rayon 30's/40's dresses (along with a few others). In that spirit, I'll be posting scans of those Fashion Frocks cards within the next few days.

Outfit details:
1930's dress via Lawrence
Golden Ponies heels



I purchased this 1960's knit set at Market Supply Co. in Chicago. I mostly hated the new Bonnie and Clyde miniseries, but Bonnie's wardrobe of colorful 1930's knit sets and slouchy berets was outrageously good. The nice thing about the set I'm wearing in these photos is that it looks like something out of the 20's or 30's but is actually much sturdier. (I have plenty of almost-too-precious-to-wear vintage dresses.) Topped with a winter coat, it was perfect for a quick stop at Phipps to check out the winter flower show.

Outfit details:
1960's does 1920's knit set via Market Supply Co.
J.Crew belt
Nina Payne heels via Anthropologie