Welcome to Guest Blogger Thursday! Every other day I see fashion bloggers showcasing some amazing vintage store finds. Do you think the focus on vintage fashions has increased with the decline of the economy? Our vintage expert guest blogger Deanna of Things Your Grandmother Knew weighs in. Check out her blog to read more about vintage fashions, and to see snippets from her impressive collection of vintage magazines.
With all the current focus on the economy and comparisons to The Great Depression, it’s become quite vogue for fashion publications to preach about the virtues & values of buying vintage clothing & accessories. In theory it makes sense because buying vintage means much cheaper prices than buying new — even rare vintage designer pieces are quite often less expensive than new modern designer couture. But in practice…?
Vintage Popularity Boom: Truth or Fiction?
There’s been a lot of press lately that the biggest spending has been in the area of *ahem* intimate adult products because people are staying home to save money. If that’s true, people need a lot less clothing!
And while some folks may be turning to vintage to pinch a few pennies, mostly what I hear from new-comers is how frustrated they are by it; shopping for vintage fashion is not the same experience as shopping at your local mall or department store.
Because “old &/or used clothing” is usually either worn-out or thrown-out, not much of it survives, leaving each piece found to be a one-of-a-kind (or darn near it). This means that even shopping for something simple, like a black skirt or a white blouse, is even more difficult than finding your size in the clearance racks at Macy’s… And that’s before you factor in the trouble of finding a vintage item in your size.
Try Vintage On for Size
Sure, the relatively small number of vintage garments for sale automatically limits size availability; but then there’s the matter of what I call the time-size-spread. The time-size-spread doesn’t (only!) refer to what happens to our individual hips overtime, but has happened to the collective American body too. Women were smaller than today… They were shorter, affecting where waistlines rest, hemlines land, and sleeves sit at the wrists. People were slighter too. Not just due to build being relatively proportionate to height (some of which is based on nutrition as well), but because those from decades before us physically worked much harder than we do and had more compact figures. Combine this with no real uniform size standards, and you can’t necessarily just go to a rack & grab the same size you would at Bloomie’s.
If I sound negative about buying vintage fashion; I’m not. I and plenty of others thrive on the challenge of thrifty thrilling discoveries which not only are fun to wear but make other fashionista’s turn green with envy (both in terms of the uniqueness of our finds and the wad of cash left in our fabulous vintage handbags). But searching for vintage clothing and accessories is as much a hobby as it is a passion for fashion; to be happy in your hunting you should be prepared for the labor (of love!) involved.
But, hey, since it’s part hobby, you can feel quite justified to dip into your “entertainment” budget too.
Tips for Navigating the Murky Vintage Waters
Should you decide to stick your toe into the pool of vintage fashion shopping (and I hope you do!), here’s a few things to help you in the pursuit of unique fashions at thrifty prices:
- Measure yourself. Everywhere; bust, shoulders, around your arm, arm length, waist, hips, inseam — as much as you can. And carry these measurements with you. (Keep them nearby when shopping for vintage fashions online too.)
- Measure the clothing. Along with your measurements, carry a measuring tape with you so that you can measure garments on the rack/hanger. Measurements aren’t a guarantee of perfect fit or meant to replace the fitting room experience, but they’ll help you weed out garments which will not fit you and you won’t have to exhaust yourself in the fitting room or waiting for one. (Many vintage shops have very limited and small fitting rooms, so you may have to wait a bit to get in.) When shopping online, you are encouraged to contact the vintage fashion seller regarding any measurements not listed &/or you are unsure about.
- Measure your time. Shopping for vintage fashions isn’t a “just a quick dash into the store” sort of a thing. Give yourself plenty of time to shop. Making it a leisurely experience will add to your fun. Plus you never know what you’ll find roaming the racks — like this retro bowling shirt score for hubby! This goes for online shopping too. (Browse page by page, linger looking in a category rather than just using a site search etc.)
- Gauge your expectations. Expect to go home empty handed. Not only is this possible, but for some of us (based on size, fashion tastes, wallet etc.) it happens more often than not… Feel free to talk about the fab finds that got away — fishermen do it, why not shoppers hunting for elusive vintage clothing and accessories?
And above all, when you capture a vintage fashion, brag, brag, brag! Show it off as a trophy like any big game hunter would do — you’ve earned it!
April 23, 2009 3 Comments
It’s your other mother’s day today – Mother Earth, that is! There are so many stylish ways to be good to her. Here are a few ideas.
- Support eco brands. Loomstate, Patagonia and Edun all use organic fabrics. Looking for vegan handbags? Matt & Nat is to leather what Morningstar Farms is to meat. It’s faux, fabulous and the closest you can get to the real thing. All are available on Shop It To Me.
- Learn Earth-healthy practices. Our Trendsetters Red Lips, Green Heart, Fashion, Evolved, Girlie Girl Army and Dame have a ton of great tips to help you develop eco-friendly habits all year round.
- Reuse and repurpose. Reusable bags are an easy way to reduce waste. Remember – bags don’t have to be labeled “reusable” to be used as such.
- Wear renewable materials. Not only are materials like silk and bamboo ultra soft and luxurious, they can also be replenished quickly.
However you choose to consider the Earth in your fashion choices, there are a ton of options to stay stylish at the same time. Happy Earth Day!
April 22, 2009 No Comments
In honor of the finale of Running In Heels that airs this Sunday (4/26), we’re giving away FIVE free 1-year subscriptions to Marie Claire magazine…and you could receive one!
On the series, we watched the Marie Claire interns as they endured moments of competitive cattiness, hob-nobbed with the stars and fashion elite, ran errands all over Manhattan, and learned the ins and outs of what it’s like to work at a fashion magazine. We admired their fashion and style sense, and chatted about whose outfits we’d most like to own, and what pressure it must be to work in such a fashionista-filled environment.
So the Running In Heels inspired contest? We’re giving away FIVE free 1-year subscriptions to Marie Claire magazine. For the chance to win, just leave a comment below with what you consider to be the greatest office fashion faux-pas! (And of course –we know you would never commit such a thing…only view it with your own two eyes!) We’re already excited to see the variety of responses (toilet paper stuck on stiletto heels, bra straps hanging out left and right…what else do you have in mind?)
We’ll pick the winners on May 1st so they can receive Marie Claire all year round!
April 22, 2009 209 Comments
It’s interesting how a piece of clothing, jewelry, or an accessory can so clearly show status or involvement with a group or issue. A few well-known examples that illustrate my point: pink ribbons to show support of fighting breast cancer, athletes wearing their jerseys the day of a big game, brides-to-be decked out in boas and other such attention-getting attire for their bachelorette parties, “I voted” stickers on election day, wearing green on St. Patty’s day (see my earlier blog post on green Salemail finds), and so on.
I recently came across a symbol I wasn’t aware of: the SHI Symbol for singles (it stands for Single, Happy, Interested). Engagement rings are an obvious way to know when someone is attached/taken, but how do people know when others are single?
According to the SHI website: “The SHI Symbol shows Single people how to find each other in their everyday activities. Married people have wedding rings to clearly announce their status but there is nothing that is so internationally recognizable as the SHI Symbol that allows the millions of Single men and women around the world to celebrate their ‘singledom’.” For sale are pendants, earrings, t-shirts, and more.
Can’t you envision Samantha from Sex And The City all glammed up with the SHI symbol prominently displayed?! What do you think…will this catch on as a new trend?
April 20, 2009 3 Comments
Valentino: The Last Emperor – a recent documentary following designer, Valentino Garavani through the final two years of his career – tells an inspiring story of love, fashion, and a lives-well-lived.
I sat down, raised my eyes to the screen, and barely blinked for approximately 96 minutes. The story of Valentino is captivating. Not only are his skills and devotion to the art of fashion made undeniable (if they weren’t already), but the film also brings to light the remarkable relationship between the designer and his long-time partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, who he credits for a great deal of his success. The two define “witty banter” in their interactions. Halfway through the film (when Giancarlo calmly admits to Valentino that he looks “a little too tan”) my boyfriend leaned over and said, “It is the best when people are just naturally funny – you know, without trying to be”. I thought this statement was pretty dead-on.
The Last Emperor is glitz and glam in a nutshell: with celebrities, legendary designers, yachts, castles, jet planes, and of course, haute couture. Having not one sewing machine in the entire House of Valentino, each gown is hand-made to perfection, and then scrutinized, and then worked at some more. I cannot imagine the blisters! Valentino claims to know what women want, and know he does: “Women want to be beautiful”. Could he say it any simpler and be more right? If only all of us could afford his one-of-a-kind gowns, the world would be a more beautiful place!
The final 2 years of Valentino’s 45-year career were full of great success and professed respect, but at the same time the designer was struggling against the corruption of his empire by the private equity firm in control – his five snorting pugs never far behind.
In the end, he knew when and how to bow out gracefully. His finale? An astounding tribute event, with 200,000 guests in attendance. Hundreds of gowns were put on display, dancers on wires wearing “Valentino Red” gowns floated through the sky (with the Coliseum as their backdrop), and a final runway show brought guests to tears. After the show, Valentino was taken aside by close friend and Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who whispered in his ear: “That’s the way it should be done. Compared to us, the rest are making rags”.
Valentino: The Last Emperor is a must see film. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the cities where the documentary is playing, be sure get out there before it is too late!
April 17, 2009 No Comments
As you may remember, I am getting married this upcoming summer! I am getting more and more excited as the date nears, yet there are still many decisions to be made. I’m lucky to have my wedding gown all picked out (that part was so fun!), and now one of the near-term priorities is helping my mom find the perfect dress for the special day. My mom is beautiful, classy, and I’ll even use the word spunky — I just hope I look half as great as she does when I’m her age. She’s very petite and almost anything looks outstanding on her it seems.
Of course we’ve been using our Shop It To Me Salemails to aide us in the hunt for the perfect gown. I wanted to compile a list of brands that we added to my mom’s profile, in hopes that it may assist other mothers of the bride out there:
For floor length gowns, check out: Vera Wang, ABS, David Meister, Carmen Marc Valvo, Diane VonFurstenburg, BCBG, Tadashi, Karen Kane, Liz Claiborne, Jones NY, Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller, Abaete, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Kay Unger, Badgley Mischka, Chetta B., Madison Marcus, Teri Jon, Alex Evenings, Calvin Klein, Elie Tahari
I also wanted to include some suggestions for cocktail length dresses– some of you may find these valuable if you’re looking for a dress to wear to attend a wedding, or for other wedding-related events, like rehearsal dinners, showers, and more. (And, check out Laura’s recent post on prom dresses if you want even more ideas!):
Trina Turk, Alice+Olivia, Milly, Betsey Johnson, Maggy London, Shoshanna, Jay Godfrey, Tracy Reese, Catherine Malandrino, Tibi, Yigal Azrouel, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Rebecca Taylor, Karen Zambos, Elizabeth+James, Susana Monaco, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor
Although none of these is quite the right dress for my mom, I wanted to show a smattering of beautiful gowns from today’s Salemail…inspiration! Whatever we find for my mom to wear, I am 100% confident she will look absolutely elegant & stunning, and glow.
If you’re craving one of these styles, here’s where you can go:
1) ABS Strapless Sweetheart Gown, Reg: $330, Now: $148.42 (use code SFAFAM9 at checkout)
2) Vera WangBlack Chiffon Halter Gown, Reg: $550, Now: $330.00
3) ABS Magenta Bow Dress, Reg: $400, Now: $240.00
4) David Meister One-Shoulder Metallic Gown, Reg: $398, Now: $143.98
5) BCBG Cross-Waist Halter Gown, Reg: $328, Now: $229.60
6) Calvin Klein Spaghetti Strap Dress, Reg: $218, Now: $163.50
7) ABS Black Beaded Symmetrical Dress, Reg: $325, Now: $195.00
8) Laundry Silk Evening Gown, Reg: $355, Now: $89.98
9) Vera Wang Emerald One Shoulder Gown, Reg: $730, Now: $438.00
April 16, 2009 1 Comment
As the start of wedding season and summer formal events, cocktail dresses are on my radar this time of year. If I happened to look like a celebrity in a new dress, that would be just fine with me. My Sale Spot is doing its part to help. A lot of the dresses look similar to some I’ve seen on Hollywood starlets.
This silky, shimmery Abaete dress looks a like a less formal version of Kate Winslet’s metallic Oscars gown.
Abaete Carolyn Dress in Frost Blue Combo Dress, Reg: $425, Now: $213
Wardrobe must — a body-hugging LBD! This one is similar to the one Eva Longoria wore to the Rally for Kids with Cancer Scavenger Cup.
Black Halo Rita Sheath Dress, Reg: $370, Now: $259
This tank dress looks a lot like an oufit Jessica Szohr from Gossip Girl wore. The bottom looks casual, but the ultra sparkly sequin top dresses it up.
Design History – Sequin Tank Dress, Reg: $135, Now: $60.68
Visit your Sale Spot to find specific items like dresses in your size and favorite brands. Just click the Sale Spot link from the footer of any Salemail.
April 15, 2009 1 Comment
We often receive inquires about if Shop It To Me can be used by Plus size women. Well, the answer is YES! The size selection options go through size 20 and Plus3x tops and bottoms. Enjoy these tips to help you score the best Plus-size fashion finds on the web:
To add Plus sizes, just log in to your profile (www.shopittome.com/login) and click “Edit sizes/categories”. Be sure to click the “Show more sizes” link under Tops and Bottoms to see all of your choices! Also, while you’re on this page, don’t forget to include accessories like handbags and shoes to complete your outfit!
There are many brands which offer Plus items! When you click “Edit brands”, make sure to select “Show all brands” to see the full spectrum of options from A-Z. In addition to standbys like Lane Bryant and Cambio, select Rachel Pally, American Eagle Outfitters, MICHAEL by Michael Kors, Charter Club, Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft, Lands End, Tahari, Alfani, Eileen Fisher, and DKNY. For trendier items, select Juicy Couture, Sweet Pea, Guess, Rocawear, Dereon, Baby Phat, and Ed Hardy. For the basics, Old Navy, Jockey, and Anne Klein are ideal. Here are some example items from a recent Salemail:
Trendsetters and Other Resources:
April 14, 2009 2 Comments
It’s cool for guys to wear bowties, according to the Wall Street Journal.
I had always thought they were reserved for poseurs and uber-prepsters, but these days I’m kind of into the preppy vibe. I blame Gossip Girl.
Brad Goreski, Rachel Zoe’s assistant, wears bowties all the time too, although I don’t know if that makes me like the look more or less. He’s two parts “chic geek”: well dressed and driven, but one part straight-up geek: kind of wimpy and always whining about this or that. But he does wear them well.
What do you think about bowties for men? Do you like the look or do they make guys look like Carlton Banks?
April 11, 2009 2 Comments
When you take a quick look at this Salemail item, what first comes to mind?
Bdg retro one piece
I’m guessing I’m not alone with the answer of …BAYWATCH! I mean, seriously, how could you see that glaring fire-truck red bathing suit and not think of glam ladies running down the beach tousling their hair from side to side on the way to help with water emergencies?!
Because I found humor in this, I able to entertain myself for a bit thinking of Salemail items reminiscent of favorite childhood television shows… here’s what I came up with – enjoy!
And, just in case one of these items caught your fancy, here’s where you can score these finds:
1) Vera Wang Emerald Hammered Satin Ruffle Trim Dress: Reg $695.00, Now $333.99
2) Ellen Tracy Zigzag Print Silk Chiffon Dress: Reg $158.00, Now $49.97
3) Black Halo Pleated Body Mini Dress: Reg $325.00, Now $162.50
4) Chetta B. Cerise Belted Silk Ruffle Skirt Dress: Reg $538.00, Now $139.97
April 10, 2009 No Comments