Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There are also a lot of Etsy Vintage shops with Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and Blogs; and I follow quite a few. Some of them are friends, some are online acquaintances, and some are shops that consistently offer quality merchandise at reasonable prices and I don't want to miss a thing.
In past life, I logged an absurd amount of time as an online/marketing/PR/sales-type professional. I am also considered quite knowledgeable about Vintage Fashion. This is meant to be helpful, drawing on my experiences of what works and what does not work, and what I find appealing as an online consumer.
1. SEPARATE YOURSELF: If you have a Twitter account for your shop, have a separate personal account. Establish yourself as a Professional, as a Business Owner who takes it seriously. Here is why: if you use Twitter to complain about slow or no sales, about how many sales you need to pay your rent or to wonder aloud WTF is wrong with people that they are not buying what you are selling--you will lose current and potential customers. A cardinal rule for sales people is to "fake it til you make it." This means, you must look prosperous and successful especially when you are not. The message you are sending is that your stuff is not attracting buyers, for whatever reason. So, instead of the complaints, post up your latest listings with tag lines like, "Limited time offerings!" "This won't last" "I'm keeping this if you don't buy it today!"
Your postings should be positive and engaging. Make us want to see what you found that is not to be missed!
2. LIMIT YOURSELF: Save up posts about your listings for once or twice a week, or at the most, once per day. Really. My Twitter feed looks like the classifieds some days, and I just skip them all. It's too much and I just refuse to sort thru it all. I've asked around, and I am not the only one. Make the updates an occasion, not just so much flotsam in the feed.
3. USE ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS: This is huge for Retrophiles looking for vintage clothing. HUGE. We want authenticity. We want measurements. We want a true indication of condition and wear-ability. If it needs altering or repairing, or cleaning, tell us the truth. Avoid things like "Mad Men" especially if you have no idea what that means as a descriptive. I don't want a dress from the 80s that "looks" 50s that is "described" as Mad Men-style, which is 60s. See what I mean? Know your product. Do the research.
4. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Where do you shop online for vintage? Which stores/shops are selling out, despite the lousy state of the economy? People are still shopping, you just need to figure out where and why. What are these sellers doing differently? I'm not talking about stealing someone's design aesthetic, I'm talking about basics: ads, photos, descriptions, policies, etc...These are the things that bring customers. What can you do better?
Nothing makes me happier than shopping online and supporting friends and fellow Retrophiles. I loathe chain stores and haven't set foot in the Maul in nearly a year. When I need things, or want things, I go to eBay and Etsy and the online stores.
If you're an Author on this blog, use it to highlight sales or especially choice items--it's free and it's like shooting fish in a barrel for your target market! If you want access, just email me and I'll set you up to post.
We want to keep these sellers in business! It's good for the environment to buy vintage! It's good for Fashion to buy vintage! It's good for your soul!!!
Please take my suggestions in the spirit they were offered: I just want to share what has been successful with all my friends who are struggling with their businesses right now. Holiday shopping season is upon us and there is no reason you shouldn't benefit from it!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well, I'd like to say "go away," but we do need it. Its just this time of year, I suppose.
I find that I enjoy Autumn more and more each year, but I just can't make my peace with the rain. It chills me to the bone.
So what do we wear in the rain? If it's chilly, wool is certainly more than adequate. A heavy cotton if it's not too cold, but moving into October, I'll stick with the wool or wool/silk blend. Stockings, of course; patterned and colored tights are gaining in popularity, but not strictly an "authentic" vintage look. I see many lovely versions for those who want to do "vintage-quirky." To each his own. Also at this time of year, I'm quite fond of layers. A sleeveless top with a cardigan, or short-sleeved silk with a cardigan or pullover-all good options. A scarf is a great way to add some color and it's useful.
Now to the footwear. This is perhaps the stickiest point for me in cold weather. My feet are perpetually cold. No matter the outside temperature and no matter the Season. I have cold feet, and if there is any precipitation, so much the colder. The Gaytees boots were all the rage, and I was lucky enough to score a like-new pair in black, low heel with a "fur" trim. I also have a knee-high pair of Eskiloos, lined in sheepskin. These babies are warm. Both of them. I can with only stocking feet in them, and my feet are toasty, no matter the weather!
(this is a 1930s ad, mine are 1940s-50s, so a bit different)
A good trench coat is a must. London Fog, Burberry, whatever your checkbook allows! Traditional tan, with a zip-in fur lining, and belted. It goes with everything.
The hat is optional, I rarely wear one in the rain. My hairstyle just doesn't support it very well, and in the nasty weather, why take extra chances??
Besides, I generally get "door-to-door" service when it's foul weather...and so should You. Insist upon it.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
There are several ways to accomplish this, depending on your personal proclivities. I tend toward the Bombshell variety, so I can advise on that particular method quite well...
One of the most important elements in the whole thing, from the Bombshell perspective, is the clothing. Pajamas, of course, but not just anything will do. When you feel lousy, something filmy and flowing probably isn't going to be comfortable, but you can't go all-in for flannel, either. So, to keep your reputation in tact, some cute baby doll pajamas should do nicely for this time of year. Also, this is no time to forsake cosmetics. You can get away with less- some good powder (try MAC Mineralize), black mascara (waterproof), and lipstick. Plenty of moisturizer.
Next, you need a large bed. It's just better. You can stretch out, across, and still have space for the things you need next to you: pink princess phone, pink tissues, TV remote, lots of pillows and of course, the cats. They always know when I'm sick and they love it when it's Nap Time all day.
The night stand should also be close at hand, to hold books, the radio, various beverages and prescriptions, hand cream, pens & paper, and lip balm. I also keep my reading glasses and crossword puzzles handy, as well as a lamp. I don't like bright light when I'm sick.
Have all the good old classic films on DVD: I've spent the day with Doris Day & Rock Hudson/Cary Grant/David Niven. Of course, you can just watch whatever is on TV, but why leave it to chance?
Last, but certainly not least, a handsome hunk of a husband to check on you, buy you boxes of chocolates and bottles of bourbon, cook dinner and pat your head, and, most importantly, know when to leave you alone.
So, if you manage those things, you should be able to find some small joys in being sent to bed sick. I know I always do.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
"You are going to be a star and a star does not carry groceries......
Whenever you go out in public, you dress to the teeth!.....
...you don't go around in slacks, you dress and look like a Star"
Miss Amanda Lee wears "The Countess" She takes Mr Zanuck's telephone advice very seriously!
Like Mr Zanuck's advice, this dress is very exclusive, you could move fast and make it yours!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Sucker Punch Sally's (an Arizona based maker of custom choppers) has teamed with CAO cigars to produce a gorgeous chopper. Hand painted by resident virtuoso Sara Ray, the bike is a bobber throwback. It's a beautiful bike that I would love to take for a spin but you can't buy it for any price. You have to win it.
CAO is a top-notch cigar producer, making classic yet unique smokes. I am a longtime fan of CAO products, and encourage any cigar smoker to become one as well. I've admired Suckerpunch Sally's bikes and to see this collaboration is amazing for me. So check out the website to enter or just drool over the pics.
You can enter here. Even if you are not a motorcycle rider, the bike is a work of art. Check out the saddlebags made of beautiful hand-tooled leather. The artwork could have come from the turn of the last century.
If you are looking for a cool ride and you feel lucky, then enter for a crack at this bad bike.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
When my youngest child was about 2, someone told me that being a mom shouldn’t mean you are inherently “square.” Now, she wasn’t calling me “square,” we were discussing women of our acquaintance who’d completely given up, style-wise, once they had children. We decided that it was just not necessary.
At the time, I was working in a very corporate environment, requiring me to wear suits on a daily basis and meeting frequently with clients. What I discovered pretty quickly is that you could buy a fairly basic suit, and, as long as it fit well, still make a statement. I bought a few of good quality, and then proceeded to make my statement via shoes and jewelry. Vintage jewelry, pearls with a black leather blazer, 40s style suede platforms. Vintage bags. Red nails. Red lips. You get the picture.
In my daily life, I find that I stick out like a sore thumb in the parking lot of my daughter’s school. All those moms look alike. And none of them look like me. And that’s just fine, because I have found quite a few moms who do look like me, thanks to the Internet and this blog.
Twila Jean is one of them.
I am Twila Jean, mom of 2 kids ages 3 and 1. I adore all things vintage and dress in 40s and 50s clothes every day. I set my hair in pin-curls and love to do my make-up. I strive to look my best when leaving the house. Having kids does not mean you are doomed to wear pajamas to the supermarket. I also pen a vintage blog called The Mysterious Life of the Metropolitan Housewife (http://living-vintage.blogspot.com). I often post snaps and stories of my life where children and vintage coalesce.
And, Trixie Dee:
I'm TrixyDee from the
I consider myself to be a Mum with vintage interest! I have two children, Laurence aged 4 and Violet who is 2.
Find it hard to find the time to make myself look glamourous but I do get round to it sometimes!
I think one of the popular misconceptions is that it takes so much time. It really doesn’t. I look at this way: you are going to put on powder, probably, at least. Then, chances are you’re going to use a little brown eye liner and some mascara. Probably some lip gloss.
So, why not use black eyeliner? Sharpen the pencil every single time and you’ll have a perfect fine line. Black mascara. And why not use a sheer red lip gloss? Less confrontational than a matte red lipstick, but a bit of a punch, and it brightens up your whole face.
Or, you can make an appointment with someone like Nicole, who does professional pin up makeovers and photography. Be a Bombshell for a day and you’ll never go back to sweats and ponytails, we promise!
My name is Nicole Klein and I am 37 proud mummy of a ten year old son.
Not only do I love my vintage style, but I even earn my living with retro pin-ups.
No photographers where you live? Take a cue from Nadja—watch the old movies. They’re all available to rent, I’ve even seen a few at the Dollar Store! Put one on while you’re doing your hair and face…you’ll be inspired!
I have always been interested in the 30´s, 40´s and early 50´s beccause of my dear father! When I was ill as a small child we often sat down looking on old photos from his parents and grandparents and told me about what they told him about how they lived and how he grew up. Gettin a little older we watched old swedish movies and
I can´t say my style is glamouros, it´s casual just beccause I have a child. Maybe that´s why I reproduce instead of buying real vintage, always prepared to be the target of a spill of milk or catch a sandwich in my lap! *ha ha*
It’s easy to do what’s easy. That’s why everyone does it. I discovered a long time ago that the best way to have some time for myself was to find it and take it. So I get up early. Really early. I have a quiet morning to prepare for the day. Enjoy my coffee, snuggle up in my vintage fluffy robe and slippers, get the bathroom all to myself! So I find the time I need to do the things that are important. What I know is that, for me, when I start the day with my Best Self forward, the day repays me in kind. Do I have days where it just doesn’t happen? Absolutely. And I’d be willing to be that our other Moms do, too. But when you develop a habit, it becomes more automatic. This is just what we do.
Give it a try. Set your alarm for just 15 minutes earlier. Start the coffee and heat up the curlers while you wash your face. Pour a cup and set your hair. Do your face, brush out your hair and revel in the simple glamour.
When you’ve done that, I dare you to put on sweats!!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
If you are decidedly NOT the soccer-mom, please email me with your bio/info and a few snapshots of your fabulous self! Please also include a statement granting me permission to use your info and photos. charmcitydailyATgmailDOTcom
The article will appear first on my blog, CharmCity|Daily, then I'll be submitting to other publications later.
Thanks in advance!!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Vintage Models in the post! (click here to go to Photographers myspace to see all his work)
I'll let you into a secret, there are only 3 or 4 of these beautiful girls that, for my tastes,
really walk the walk and talk the talk, so to speak.
So, imagine my delight when Miss Amanda Lee and the photographer Doug Monce of the said photo, get together and shoot photos of my new gown, the Wicked Lady 1945!
This was just the kind of gown I'd imagine Margaret Lockwood and Patrica Roc to be slinking about in, whilst off the set!!! Designed it with Lockers, Pat, Amanda and myself in mind at the time!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
May I present my first post regarding my daily clothing habits. I would like to stress from the outset that this and any further posts (of mine) will draw no distinction between vintage clothing and quality, classic or repro clothing.
From a Saturday afternoon of shopping and supping:
- Vintage Milan straw hat from The Girl Can't Help It.
- Harrington from J.Simons (dreadful website, great shop). The jacket is made by Bramble and is exactly the same as the Barracuta harrington but in a superior cloth.
- Vintage combination glasses from Klasik.
- Short sleeved, striped top in Sea Island cotton by John Smedley.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
The tight skirt is seldom seen in these sartorially Hellish times and this dire situation must be rectified post haste.
Please take a stroll through the electronic emporium and feel free to ask any questions as the lovely Miss Nicola, proprietress, is most accommodating.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I've been having a bit of fun using AMC's Mad Men Yourself. If you're a fan of the stylish, witty and clever drama, you can entertain yourself inserting yourself into the world of Madison Avenue advertising's heyday. Several people have turned me on to this show and this little time waster. Thanks to all of you!
Inspired by my love of Fay Wray and her famous hairy Beau!
Can be worn for wedding gown, party frock, cocktails or simply because
you feel like a movie star!
My own current version is black satin.
If Mr M ever decides to make an honest woman of me, this is what I'll be wearing!
Miss Matilda xx
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Pantherella are doing Fair Isle socks in three different colourways. Just the right compliment to some sturdy tan brogues and thornproof tweeds. They can be purchased from The Vintage Shirt Company.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Her alarm clock chimes before the sun rises. She's not only up and at 'em, she's dressed to the nines in heels and a full face, wearing perfume. Her apron is starched and matches her outfit, and breakfast is on the table. Her husband and children come to the table dressed and pressed: they've been raised that way, and she's done the ironing.
The year is not 1944, or even 1954...it's 2004, and the modern retro housewife is keeping house like Grandma did. She’s starting early and staying up late. Her day begins just after daybreak, when she gets up and gets dressed. No sweats or boxer shorts and t-shirts for her, she's wearing silk pajamas and pin curls. She bathes, dresses, combs out her hair and does her face. She's a modern-day Donna Reed, and she doesn't wear Donna Karan.
When her family leaves for school and work, after a hot breakfast, the kitchen is cleaned, beds made, house straightened. If it's Monday, it's wash day, but whatever the day, you can bet her home is in order. The cupboards are never bare and dinner is ready when Father comes home in the evening. Meals are simple and nourishing. Breakfast and lunch are served in the kitchen, dinner is served in the dining room, and little boys tuck in their shirts before coming to the table.
Once a week, she gets her hair done and a manicure. If the budget is tight that week, she does it herself, but "going without" or cultivating "bedhead" is no more an option than wearing a jogging suit to the grocery store or going to the mailbox without lipstick.
She may be just an old-fashioned gal, or a semi-retired bombshell. She’s mastered the art of cleaning the cat box in a pencil skirt and stockings. She can sweep, mop and clean the toilet without chipping a nail or losing a bobby pin. These dames can keep house and keep the home fires burning. And really, what's sexier than a woman who can cook and doesn't mind cleaning up afterwards?
These retrophiles and their mates are happily living in their own little time warps, raising their families the old-fashioned way, with good manners and knowledge of some basic social graces. Their children know who Alfred Hitchcock is and can sing Cole Porter tunes in the bath.
The little ones look up to Daniel Boone and Amelia Earhardt, and when they say the Pledge of Allegiance in the neighborhood grade school, they understand it and it means something. The kids wear plaid skirts and saddle shoes and turned-up dungarees with striped t-shirts and Beaver Cleaver caps. They say "ma'am" and "sir" and know which fork to use.
I know, it all sounds so nice, so perfect. Well, it is nice. Maybe it isn't perfect for everyone, but for a few of us, it's heaven. We were born too late. We live in that fabulous era of the mid-20th Century, when we'd just won The War and the whole country was overflowing with optimism about things to come. Good had triumphed over Evil, just as it should, and all was right with the world. The guys in White Hats would keep on winning and we'd all be safe from those guys in the Black Hats. It was as simple as that.
It just so happens that we don't think all things referred to as "progress" really are moving us forward. And it isn't just about the clothing that kids are wearing today (or, more accurately, not wearing these days). Looking at style trends is a good barometer for where we are as a society. When it just doesn’t matter to you how you look when you leave the house, it probably doesn't matter to you how you do your job. It probably doesn't matter to you how you drive or how you keep your lawn or anything else. If you can't take pride in yourself, then what can you take pride in?
For the modern retro housewife, our lifestyle is a show of respect—respect for ourselves and others. Housewives dress each morning just as if they're going to an outside job because keeping house and caring for their families is a job. It's a serious job and we respect that work. We show that respect by not showing up for work wearing velour sweats and un-brushed hair. (And for the record, flip-flops are not shoes, just in case you're on the fence about that one.)
Sure, we take advantage of some modern conveniences: good dishwashers, advancements in vacuum cleaners, a good TV to watch those films noirs. A big refrigerator with water in the door definitely saves steps, and I can't live without my garbage disposal. I also really like the coffee maker…but I have a percolator and I know how to use it. We have cell phones and pink princess phones. We have CD players and Victrolas. We have new cars and old cars. We have DVDs of our favorite classics, because we like to preserve what's important to us.
Living this way every day is a real commitment. We have to mean it, because we are outnumbered exponentially and sometimes it feels like Us or Them, especially when we're trying to teach our children some values and morals. You know, simple things, like buy pants that fit and no one else wants to see your underwear.
Going to the grocery store is better at the local market, not the big chains, since most of the customers are dressed like I am. Granted, most of them are in their dotage, but they don't look at me like I'm wearing a costume. (It's easier in a bigger city, too, when you're likely to just be considered "eccentric", and since I live in the same town as John Waters, I figure I'm OK.)
If you've seen the August and September issues of Vogue magazine, you'll know that I am at the height of couture fashion this season. "Granny Chic" as it's called, is all the rage.
Looking like I care what is going on at Fashion Week is ridiculous. I don't want to be trendy. I don't believe in trendy. The upside (my fellow retrophiles decided) is that in a few months, all those designer retro suits are going to be in the thrift stores and all over eBay. We can wait.
You know, the whole thing really comes down to how you want to live and what you want out of living. Frank Sinatra said, "You only live once, but if you live like me, once is enough." We believe that, in theory, though most of us can't live like the Chairman of the Board. Mostly, we try to live like we mean it, like it matters, not like we're just killing time or getting through one thing and onto the next. Every day matters when you live simply and honestly and know what's important to you. We look at our children and we're proud of them. When we're old, we can look back at our lives and be proud also.
Monday, June 29, 2009
One of my favorites is a powder compact--the vintage variety. Years ago many different styles were available, some like the ones you see today in the drugstore, but others were made of precious metals and set with diamonds, turquoise, pearls, emeralds and more.
Clearly, the second variety is the way to go...but how can you refill it? I'll tell you how; make it yourself. It's easy, and even cheap.
Here's what you'll need:
*color powder (pink, peach, green, etc.)
*50% rubbing alcohol
*water or rosewater
Take a small amount of baby powder and mix in a pinch or three of colored powder. Pink or peach for a delicate color, a bit of green if you want to tone down a red complexion...you get the picture.
Add 3 or 4 drops of glycerine and mix to a paste with rubbing alcohol and water or rosewater.
Pat this into the empty, clean powder section of your compact and smooth it in with wet fingers. Leave the cover open and allow it to dry, at least overnight.
Glycerine can be found in some drugstores. Rosewater is expensive in mainstream stores--look for it in mediterranean markets. You can find it there for under $4.00 per bottle. As for the colored powder, I suggest mineral makeup. It works very well.
If your pressed powder cracks, it's too dry. Add a bit more glycerine or less rubbing alcohol next time.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Whether at home or the office or elsewhere, you can make casual attractive. Here's an example: today I had to garden, run errands, bake and cook a decent dinner (too many sandwiches lately!) and I wanted to be comfortable, but wasn't about to wear sweats. (I do have them. I use them for yoga or running. Period.)
Today I wore vintage dungarees (ca. 1932...they belonged to my Great Uncle Jack, who wore them in the Navy) a corn yellow "Three Hour Sweater", which I knitted myself a few years ago. The pattern was available free online at the time I made the sweater. The pattern itself is from the 1930s. It's got a ribbed neck area, puffed sleeves and a ribbed waist. Simple and comfortable, but tailored. To that I added argyle socks (cream, with pale leaf green, peach & yellow), brown loafers, a Bakelite bangle and Bakelite earrings.
If you'd like to see some cute examples from the 30s and 40s, check out any movie star biography from that time period. See Ginger Rogers after a successful fishing trip, or other actresses and starlets posing for the old movie magazines. Loose dungarees with a proper high waist, cuffed or rolled, anklets or argyles, loafers, and a bright, tailored shirt and you're good to go. Add coordinating Bakelite or celluloid jewelry and you're all set.
Set your hair or roll it (or use a do-rag or pony tail) and someone is sure to walk up to you and say,"My great aunt dressed just like that when....".
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Ok, so I'm a bit late with this one and it's only germain if you're languishing on this side of the Atlantic, BUT! if you be down Camden way (its a 'burb of London), check out Rock-a-Hula at the Stables Market tonight, June 15th.
Lindy Hop lessons and 50's makeovers! Oh my! Muchas gracias to Queens of Vintage for that tip.
If you miss this one, I'm sure there's going to be more in the near future, and this reporter will try to be more timely in her posts. That or the Boss Lady will can my as.....I mean, ensure that I have oodles of free time to acquire the habit of knowing what the date is whilst waiting on line at the Unemployment Office.