Thursday, May 28, 2015


I hoard blue shoes and handbags. They're hard to come by, and I wear more blue than black.

I have nothing against reproductions, particularly with shoes, as good condition vintage is hard to find (and expensive to maintain-just ask our cobbler). When I saw these sitting on a rack at Goodwill, they were covered at least half an inch thick in dust. Examining the shoes, I noticed they were unworn. I handed over my $3.99 and gave them a good cleaning with a damp rag when I got home.
I have a difficult time understanding people who keep unworn shoes. Obviously these were sitting around long enough to get dusty. Buying something for some unspecified date in the future has never been my style. If I buy it, I wear it. My shoes rarely gather dust, even the formal ones.

Oh dear, the tights have ladders, and I varnished more skin than toenails. Oops.

As far as I can tell, these were donated because, like many cheap shoes that are mass produced, the holes to fasten the straps hadn't been punched all the way through. Ten seconds with a needle solved that issue. Are people really so lazy that they can't punch a hole in a shoe strap? I've seen clothing donated that only needed a hem tacked back in place. Madness, but great for me.

So how are these shoes? They're comfortable. I don't imagine they sold for much new as they came from Old Navy. Unlike a vintage pair I don't need to be overly cautious with them as they aren't likely to come unglued, or lose a heel. Still, a vintage pair will be better made with respect to the uppers, and I fully expect the vinyl to begin cracking and peeling at some point. Good reproductions can cost as much as original vintage (I adore Remix shoes, but can't bear to part with the money to buy them new), but it is worth considering if you're looking for something wearable that will last. I like these shoes a great deal, but I know they won't look like this next summer-if they make it that far.

 The bracelets are a mix of vintage bakelite (the green one) and reproduction bamboo bangles. A purist might balk, but I'm pleased with the overall effect.
 The glass ring isn't original 60's vintage but rather a reproduction I bought at a craft store for .50 cents.
I'll just stand here in the funny mix of shade and sun for a photo. 

The bag and skirt are original vintage-the tee shirt is contemporary retail. A 50's bag, a 70's skirt, a 60's necklace-I mix eras most days, as I mix vintage and reproduction pieces. I do admire some of the reproduction clothing I see online. Still, it is quite expensive, and I wouldn't want to see the same dress making the rounds across the blogs. That said, I recently ordered two novelty skirts that could easily pass for vintage with the right accessories. They weren't being sold as repro, though it wouldn't take much imagination to see them as such. I'm loathe to purchase clothing new, but these were such a bargain (with free shipping and returns) that I felt it was worth it. We'll see if I feel the same when they arrive. 

I was out and about today when someone stopped me to ask if I sell vintage, or if I just enjoy wearing it. I was surprised, as I wasn't really dressed in anything I'd consider, "Vintage" unless that now extends to 90's twin sets and a home-sewn silk skirt. I wonder if, "Looking vintage" is less to do with authentic pieces than how what you have is styled. A mid-calf skirt and twin set can reflect an era, and the bangles on my arms might have completed the impression. I didn't get any photos today (sorry) but believe me, it isn't the sort of pinup girl fashion we typically see offered as "Vintage". From what I can tell looking at family photos, suburban housewives didn't wear pencil skirts and Bardot tops. Well, not the women in my family anyway. I still like pinup fashions, but there's always more than one way to do an era though I don't think, "Non-descript office worker" has the same effect on sales as, "Pinup." 

I also squint in the sun, but that's not fashion-that's reflex

Outfit Particulars:
1970's wrap skirt-Goodwill, a couple decades ago
Tee Shirt-K Mart
Old Navy shoes-Goodwill
Bangles-all over
Silk cardigan-bought new, early 90's
Turtle brooch-Thrift World
70's Earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Ring-Hobby Lobby
Fragrance-Guerlain Guet Apens

The rain started again in earnest as we were about to leave the department store where we'd spent an hour sampling fragrances (so we could go to TJMax and buy them for 1/2 price). A sweet employee packaged up Danny's fragrance cards in a bag so they wouldn't get wet walking to the parking lot.
"Thank you." he told her, before asking, "Can we get a bag for my mother's purse so the rhinestones don't come unglued?" He was right. and it was a good thing he asked because I don't think my Collins bag would have made it. I was tempted to go back in and have him ask for bags for my shoes, but thought that might be too much. The elements are the enemy of true vintage, something to keep in mind when trying to justify the cost of repro.

Do you do repro from shops, or just when you happen upon it second hand? What about era mixing? Yea, nay, or "Whatever?"


Jenn said...

My mother, father, and grandparents used to say a rhyme... "Blue and green should never be seen unless they're in a washing machine."

I think that you've proved them all wrong!

Bibi said...

Since when does Old Navy sell shoes like that?
I thought they were just a jeans, t-shirts & flip flops kind of place?
I think 'vintage' to most Americans is now extended to anything other than the mainstream Victoria's Secret/Abercrombie & Snitch crap. Although there does seem to be quite a bit of overlap at times.
In today's searing tropical heat I am wearing-
Yves Rocher Monoi Eau des Vahines & am exuding exotic notes of tiare flower, ylang-ylang, coconut and vanilla.

Radostin said...

Your son is wonderful! Of course you don't need telling, but it is nice to know that others appreciate him too, right?
Oh, and as to your question, I definitely mix things up.

Goody said...

There's also the version with, "Blue and green should never be seen, unless upon an Irish queen." I wonder if there is some old bit of ethnocentrism in it, so many tartans having blue and green, etc.

At one point, I had my entire house done in blue and green just to make finding lamps, sofas, etc. easier to match.

Sometimes Old Navy has some nice stuff, but yeah, you have to dig through the ugly waterfall cardigans to find it.


Goody said...

Just to clarify-I'm not accusing your family of anything-rather pointing out that these things get repeated long after the original meaning is gone( like, "Paddy wagon" or "Gyped.")

Jenn said...

Oh lord, my family was/is as English as they come, so I wouldn't at all be surprised if there was something there!

Beth Waltz said...

My wardrobe is a mix of eras simply because (aside from undies) I shop only second hand -- and because I'm vintage myself. Like yours, any single outfit will invariably include jewellery much older than the slacks/skirt/top. I love the 40s; however, the clothing rarely fits (or even appears on the racks).

Like Vix, I do wear a few bits from the family cedar chest. My dad's Merchant Marine wool sweater, worn on the Murmansk Run in WWII, still sees service in Midwestern winters, as does the mouton astrakhan hat he wore with suits. Mum's dressy leather bags (the ones that did not do daily duty) are on a niece's shelf: the vintage bug is hereditary.

Repros? If I could spot wearable, affordable shoes like those strappy items with the bobbles, I'd gladly buy and wear them! In fact, I keep hoping to discover an honest-to-goodness dressmaker who could translate those Vogue Vintage 40s patterns into wearable items for my *mature* figure.

Mim said...

I wear repro. It's not easy to find the sort of vintage I like in my size here in the UK, and repro is fine for work or bimbling about in. That said, I'm fussy about it: I'm really not into the pinup style on myself, and a few of the cheaper brands seem to use poor-quality and inaccurate fabrics.

Curtise said...

I like those shoes, and I am a big fan of blue and green together. That's a fab skirt!
I prefer vintage, the real deal, for the originality and quality, although I certainly mix up the decades very happily. Specialist repro brands seem to be quite expensive and often stick to a very particular style/type of vintage look - 1940-50s, tea dresses, pin-up, rockabilly, that kind of thing. You don't tend to get repro brands with a Seventies range, do you? I do have a few bits and pieces which have the look of a particular era, are modern remakes but from run-of-the-mill high street shops. Of course I buy them secondhand from charity shops, but it's been good to find super-cheap jumpsuits and palazzo pants, since vintage originals are harder to find (at least ones which fit me.) xxx

Goody said...

@Beth Waltz
40's is tough in larger sizes-everything I can find that fits, makes me look like Eleanor Roosevelt. The frump-factor is strong in that era. How great that you have pieces from your family that are still usable.

Cheap fabrics drive me mad. Why bother making a reproduction to do it so shabbily? I don't blame you for being picky.

I imagine the 70's repro will be coming next. Some of the styles for autumn look very mid 70's to me (suede, flares, jumpsuits) but I agree with you that the original vintage is best when you can find it (though if you spill something all over something from Topshop it is less of a tragedy). I'm waiting for someone to do a good repro mid-70's Halston-influenced ultrasuede line-we could wear the hell out of that, couldn't we?