Today was an absolute "Wellie-Weather" day here in Massachusetts. If you're a New Englander, you probably have a pair sitting at the back door, if not at every door of your home. We have wellies with whales, wellies with autumn leaves, navy blue wellies with super warm snow boot-like lining, and my new favorites: Tommy Hilfiger Women's Viktoria Wellie Boots.
But I'm letting you in on a little secret (part of why you still read this blog, I hope): I paid $19.99 for them at Burlington Coat Factory earlier this week...I know it's crappy out, but if that's not going to get you to get out of the house this afternoon then I don't know what will.
Snowflakes fell here yesterday...not much left-over today, but the temperature has taken a big dip and that means time to don a winter coat.
This beautiful 1950s Dan Millstein ~ New York ~ Paris label embroidered black velvet coat is cold weather luxury at it's finest. Lined in rich champagne satin, it feels like butter against your skin. The sleeves taper into a snug fit, which not only looks amazing, it keeps those cold winter drafts out. You can find it in our "Vintage Outerwear Department" in The Shoe.
You've seen this baby blue before...1930s vintage blue velvet hooded dressing gown/robe/evening coat from Filene's Boston (quite possibly the original store). Fresh from the drycleaners and now available in our "Vintage Lingerie/Boudoir Department". Finally, something warm to wear with a hood that is not fleece or sweatshirt fabric.
I've written about the family reunion last summer when I scoured through boxes and boxes of vintage and antique photographs of my husband's family. Every now and then I came across some that no~one in the family recognized.
Like this collection of photographs from a winter wedding (stamped June 1947 on back). Taken outside in the snow, fur coats (check out that leopard beauty!!) over frilly, lacy gowns, arms full of enormous fresh flower bouquets that were so popular in the 1940s, and men with perfect hair cuts and proper overcoats.
No idea who they are, but they're memories are safe with me.
In light of the fact that 49 of the US states has snow reported, I thought I would share some family photos & our obsession with a certain vintage fur hat:
"I want that hat, I'm going to grab it when she looks the other way. . .The Sartorialist would love this, it's all he's posting now that New York finally has some real weather . . . " (Auntie)
"You can take my picture, but now I'll have to kill you . . ." (Auntie)
"Oh come on, you know it looks much better on me!"
"Oh well, it's Mommy's anyway!"
This great vintage fur hat is from the late Shephard's Department Store, which was the place to shop in Providence, RI back in the day . . . according to this article, it was the place to shop in New England. It was a beautiful old~world style store, here are some photographs I found:
These photographs were taken rather recently, sadly I couldn't find any old b&w photographs to share. I'm sure they're out there, I hope they are . . .
My DH (who is just a few years my senior) remembers driving to Providence for a day of shopping. It was a big deal. They wore their Sunday best, everyone was dressed: gentlemen in suits, or at the very least, shirt & tie, and the ladies wore dresses or suits, with matching handbags & gloves . . . a far cry from what you see at the mall today (not that I go to the mall, you know my disdain for it . . . but having a 7 year old little lady, at times one must concede . . . )
(photos courtesy of Joukowsky Institute Home)
The famous "Shepards Clock"
"Meet me under the clock!"
Everyone knew exactly what & where you meant, and this expression is practically a legend around here . . . thus, our adoration of "the hat" . . . I think I'm going to keep it.
Seems some very wintry weather is headed straight for us here on the NE coast, so I spent the day making the usual preparations: a visit to the market, a visit to our local package store, making sure the laundry was caught up & that there were plenty of candles & lamp oil in the kerosene lanterns just in case we lose power, reminding my DH to check the fuel in the snow blower, planning what to cook tonight that I can turn into a great soup for tomorrow, wood for the fireplace, and lest we forget the chocolate, I even remembered that: Moser Roth Dark European Chocolate One each of "Chili" (oh yum!) & "Orange & Almond". I'm no chocolate expert, I'm quite happy with a good old Hershey Bar and a glass of ice cold milk, but when I want something a bit more sophisticated (but that doesn't break the bank) this does the trick.
I also managed to squeeze in a little "Treasure Hunting" and found these lovely additions for my library:
Clockwise from top left:
1.) How to Finish Old American Houses by Henry L. Williams and Ottalie K. Williams 2.) A Life of Privilege, Mostly by Gardner Botsford 3.) Out of This World ~ Across the Himalayas to Forbidden Tibet by Lowell Thomas 4.) The Best of Kipling by Rudyard Kipling
EXHIBIT #1: Having gone to Old Sturbridge Village for my annual class field trip every year of elementary school, I suppose it was inevitable that I would grow up to love old colonial style decor. While my classmates groaned & complained the moment our teacher announced (with false excitement) that "This year we are going to . . . Old Sturbridge Village!!", secretly, I was elated that we would be making the trip back in time . . . If you've never been, and ever find yourself in that neck of the woods, make it a point to include this tour in your itinerary. It's an all day affair, but well worth it. Sturbridge is also home of the infamous Publick House and an abundance of antique stores & shoppes. If you time it right, you can spend some time browsing the Vintage Fashion & Textile Show and spend a day treasure hunting at The Brimfield Flea Market. Needless to say, EXHIBIT #1 was calling my name from it's shelf, and will be a perfect accompaniment beside the fire with a glass of port over the next few days.
(Photo courtesy of Vintage Fashions & Textile Show Site)
EXHIBIT #2: I have to admit it was the cover of this book that caught my eye (yes, I have been known to pick a book for it's cover and nothing else . . . please, don't judge me). The title, too, brought a little smile to my face. It told me this author had a sense of humor, and did not take his "privileged life" all that serious . . . perfect! I'm probably the only person who didn't know that Gardner Botsford was the editor of The New Yorker for 40 years. Don't judge me for that, either. I enjoy the New Yorker, usually for about 10 minutes a week when I'm in the check out line somewhere or at the library waiting for my daughter to decide which Judy Moody book to check out this time. I suppose if I lived closer to the city, it would be profitable to know about all those great plays and the goings~on about town, but it usually just leaves me sighing and reminds me that we have an 8:00 pm cut off for take-out delivery around here ~~ a far cry from life in the big city. With that said, I am looking forward to reading this memoir . . . and if I never get to it, at least I know who Gardner Botsford is now if I ever end up on Jeopardy. (Is that show still on, by the way?)
(Photo courtesy of The New Yorker)
EXHIBIT #3: Out of This World was in my basket even before I met a pair of "older" gentlemen who were taking advantage of Senior Citizen Tuesday and were hunting for books as well. I smiled at one of them and he smiled back ( a rare occurrence in New England, if you live here you know how friendly everyone is) and he asked me what I had found. A delightful conversation ensued, and he told me all about the author, Lowell Thomas. Again, it was the cover & title of this book that appealed to me, although I had no idea who the author was. But now I do, thanks to my SC fellow treasure hunter pal. I hope to run into him again, he had a great smile (and nice shoes, come to think of it)
(Photo courtesy of Photographers Gallery)
EXHIBIT #4: Saving the best for last: The Best of Kipling. My step~father used to read Kipling to us after dinner, we'd sit around the table and he would pick an excerpt from one of his works and read to us. My sisters would slowly disappear from the dining room, but I always stayed, hanging onto every word. He has a beautiful collection of books in his library, and we have always enjoyed finding books for each other over the years. But, since he has all of Kipling's works, this one will stay here.
Fall is here in full swing, with winter biting at it's heels...
For a vintage fashion lover, having four seasons as we do in New England, is an absolute delight! Yes, you have to re~arrange your closet every few months...Yes, you have to always be prepared to wear a fur coat to a late September wedding because there could be snow, or at the very least a very cool sea breeze at that outside ceremony that leaves you wishing you had grabbed that wonderful old vintage flask you found at the antique store for just such an occasion...
You may, when you learn that the fabulous party you were supposed to attend has been canceled due to a "Nor Easter" find yourself harboring feelings of jealousy toward all those sunny California vintage gals who get to wear playsuits and swimsuits and pretty summer dresses and sandals all year~~who never have to worry about freezing to death or ruining their vintage 1940s suede shoes in the snow, or having a party canceled due to beautiful white fluffy stuff that just can't wait another day to drop in for a visit...
But those moments are few and far between, because we, dear New England vintage gals, have officially entered
VINTAGE SWEATER SEASON!!
Aside from my Mom's friend Marie, who came to a mid~August dinner party in a fluffy angora sleeveless turtleneck sweater which prompted me to ask "How can you stand to be wearing that in this heat?" and who nonchalantly replied "Oh, I'm dying, but I look good, don't I?" ~~I really don't think there are many ladies who would choose to wear a sweater when the weather is sweltering...
Which is why, when Fall rolls around, so do the vintage sweaters!
One of the biggest complaints I hear from girlfriends is that vintage sweaters make you look like a "little old lady", that they look "dated".
While I admit this CAN be true, it doesn't HAVE to be...