, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Such a fun fashion. Thought I would see what I could find on this rainy night. Bolero’s were especially popular in the 40’s and 50’s.

our lovely customer Margot  in a 1940s rayon dress and beloro with beading she found at CTMercantile

our lovely customer Margot in a 1940s rayon dress and beloro found at CTMercantile

pretty green dress and bolero

wedding dress dress


Letter from a Norwegian Bride


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


It’s so much fun to hear from our customers all over the world. After a very sweet thank you for her wedding dress a bride from Norway wrote this fascinating letter about her summer wedding. Every wedding celebration is so unique. Here is part of her letter…

“Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. But I hope late is better than never.I have just used the dress once, and it was in our wedding in August this year (4th). It was really a wonderful day and we both remember it with a smile on our faces. The dress was delicate, simple but perfect! My husband really liked it.”

“We didn’t want to get married in a church since neither of us are what you call Christian. So, we decided to get married on a mole/breakwater in a village near our family. We thought it would be nice to get married by the sea. We got married by a judge from our town, Alta (north of Norway) which said ‘yes’ to travel there (takes about 1 hour by car from Alta).”

“My mother in-law surprised us: she had arranged this flag-archway which we went through after we had given our: ‘Yes’. There was also a man (part of the surprise) that played guitar and sang while we walked was really nice.”

“After the photography we celebrated at the local camp (owned by the family). There we had dinner and cake/coffee in the old barn. It had been painted and made more like a big “room” some years ago. So we decorated it with flowers and twinned white “growth cloth/canvas” around all the pillars, and made some hanging curtains above the tables – which were almost the same height and size. Also the chairs were all different, because all the furnishings were things he had gotten for free from people. But the tables looked good with white cloth, sunflowers, plates, glasses and all the candles.

This made it all very cozy and gave a special feeling to the place. We had a live fire in the fireplace (it’s a bit cold in a barn), and we used a big old “American suitcase” for the beer and drinks – filled with ice of course.”

“For the main dinner we had reindeer meat

(with vegetables…) cooked in what we call a: cooking hollow. That means you dig a hole in the ground, warm up some rocks, wrap the meat for cooking and put it down in the hole with the really warm rocks under and over it, then you close the hole and let it cook for some hours – duration depends on the size of the meat.

Just to make it clear: this is not the usual way to cook meat, it’s a VERY old w

ay to cook in the stone age…before electricity *lol* But it gives a special fe

eling to it, and a bit more exciting also for the guests…

We had just main course, dessert and then cakes and coffee after the dancing. And all our cakes was decorated with real but edible flowers.
During dinner we had all the “normal things” like speeches and wedding/food/welcome/thank you songs, and the wedding gifts.”

“So, you see…it wasn’t a traditionally wedding…it was a bit “alternative”, but the perfect way to get married for us.”



norwegian bride



, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Topaz Briolette Clear White Gemstone Faceted 3 D TearDrop Top Drilled 9.5mm Set of 2 Beads

Beads, those pretty little things made from glass, bone, wood, pottery, metal, coral, ivory, seeds, shells, pearls, amber, jet, and all kinds of jewels….so many uses for thousands of years. They’ve been used for money, for prayers, and most of all for decoration. Beads embellish clothing, shoes, purses, hair ornaments and of course jewelry.

Something about stringing beads into a beautiful necklace is so rewarding. I have a wonderful memory of sitting in my Dad’s trailer on a camping trip in the Puget Sound, stringing a necklace of colorful glass, listening to NPR on his old radio and watching as ferries went by the window in the rain. It was so cozy…not so much for Dad who was out in the weather fishing!

Recently in Anacortes, Washington I found an amazing 1970s leather jacket with fringe on the back and beautiful bead work- so much fun to wear! If you are ever there be sure to stop in at North Star on Commercial street.  I always thought it was only a T shirt shop until my brother took me in. Apparently he has been going there for years for vintage shirts.

Here are some fantastic beads and bead work items from etsy shops, including one from CTMercantile.

The Little Black Dress


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nothing says “classy” quite like “The little black dress” or LBD. Created and popularized by French designer Coco Chanel it is probably the most versatile item of fashion a woman can own. It effortlessly goes from day to date night with some jewelry, or silk scarf and a fine pair of shoes.

French designer and creator of the “little black dress” Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Coco Chanel’s first little black dresses 1926

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” said Coco Chanel. Her LBD quickly became so popular that Vogue magazine nicknamed it the “Ford” of fashion. After all it only came in black, like Henry Ford’s Model T. Vogue rightly predicted it would become a classic too.

The first little black dress was straight midi length.  Chanel had created a simple, classy dress that was comfortable, and easy to wear, eliminating the need for restricting corsets. Her designs were welcomed by modern women and her influence is every where. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel can be thanked for creating pants for women, ropes of pearls, sling-back pumps, bobbed hair and costume jewelry.

Coco Chanel working on a beautiful LBD

And then there is Audrey… very favorite actress …she perfectly illustrated what Coco Chanel meant when she said

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,”

Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Just a few of the “Little Black Dresses at

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. Fashion fades only style remains the same” Coco Chanel

Oleg Cassini


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“To be well dressed is a little like being in love”- Oleg Cassini.

Oleg Cassini was a French-born American fashion designer. Cassini dressed numerous stars creating some of the most memorable moments in international fashion and film. Oleg Cassini’s designs for the First Lady, ‘The Jackie Look’ are recognized as being the “single biggest fashion influence in history” by film costume designer, Edith Head. Cassini’s contemporary designs such as the A-lineSheath and the Empire Strapless continue to remain influential and predominant today.[2] from Wikapedia

Hong Kong Tailors


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Vintage wool coat tailored in Hong Kong

detailed hand stitching

Some of our vintage finds were tailored in Hong Kong. Beautifully sewn I decided to  see what I could find about these wonderfully made items. A style in the 50s was matching dresses and coats. Apparently you could actually draw out what you wanted and have it created in a a few days!

“Custom tailoring is also very popular and affordable in Hong Kong. You can draw out your own design for clothing and have it made in a few days. Although there are many Tailors in Hong Kong it is a profession in relative decline. ”  Here are a some of the interesting articles I found about Hong Kong tailors.

bespoke tailoring

Share this:

Crazy Weather


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The weather is wild and varied this summer. My friend Margie, working in Oklahoma for 6 months, has been basking in 118 degrees! She says you don’t go out after 10 am or before 8 pm. Hot, hot in much of the U.S. Here in the Pacific Northwest the weather is perfect. After nearly no summer last year, and lots of rain, we are loving it!

They’ve had plenty of rain in the UK though. One of our customers, Anna, wrote in June, with an apology for not writing sooner about the vintage Hawaiian shirt she had purchased for her husband. With good reason! It rained so much in their town of Bogner Regis in West Sussex, UK that she sent me this  link.

They had 2 months worth of rain in 24 hours!

She wrote: “The shirt arrived. The packaging was sopping and disintegrated but you cleverly wrapped the shirt in plastic so it was fine”. I usually wrap orders in plastic in case of a little damp, but Oh my!,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=cde1baa989d171d0&biw=1366&bih=643

Schiaparelli and Prada


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just found this great etsy blog by New York designer and fashion writer Chappell Ellison on the Metropolitan Museum‘s current fashion exhibition featuring fashion designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada Prada12/schiaparelli-and-prada-impossible-conversations/?ref=fp_blog_title

Here are some beautiful treasures by Schiaparelli and Prada on etsy shops.

First this amazing Schiaparelli jewelry set from TheDealhuntress

..and a stunning sweater by Elsa Schiaparelli from VintageBlueMoon on etsy

1950's Vintage Schiaparelli Black Rhinestone Sweater M/L

Here is a beautiful illustration for one of her gowns from the etsy shop paperdollgirls

Vogue 1940 Magazine Advertisement Fashion Illustration by ERIC for SCHIAPARELLI Evening Dresses Haute Couture Paris

I found this amazing Prada leather coat from the shop fmarie01 on etsy

And a little black Prada dress from MadVintageCouture on etsy

PRADA Special Little Black Dress w/ Elasticized Waist

California Couture Designer Bud Kilpatrick


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When I found this beautifully made dress with the handwritten signature of Bud Kilpatrick on the inside I had to find out who this designer was. I discovered this article from the Milwaukee Journal of August 28, 1961 by Betty Ann.,4034262

“‘Simple elegance’ with these two words, Bud Kilpatrick summed up his view of what makes a woman well dressed. The same two words describe the clothes he designs- wonderfully wearable and femminine looking clothes made of beautiful fabrics.”

During the 60s Bud Kilpatrick was one of California’s best known designers. He made the move to California from Minneapolis, Minnesota because he liked the casual well made fashion there. His mother was also a custom clothing designer and he got his start working with her.

Fine fabrics were very important to his work. Simple lines and well made clothes were what he is known for.

California couture designer Bud Kilpatrick

In 1963 he received the Neiman Marcus award.

Fashion by Bud Kilpatrick

Neiman Marcus Fashion Award

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 From Wikipedia

The Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion was a yearly award created in 1938 by Carrie Marcus Neiman and Stanley Marcus. Unlike the Coty Award, it was not limited to American-based fashion designers.[1] Recipients of the Neiman Marcus Awards include couturiers, non-American based designers, journalists, manufacturers, and celebrities and style icons who had had a significant personal influence upon fashion such as Grace Kelly and Grace Mirabella.[1][2] The award was typically presented to multiple recipients each year, rather than to a single individual, although Adrian was the sole winner in 1943, a feat repeated in 1957 by Coco Chanel.[1] From 1969 the awards became increasingly intermittent, with ceremonies held in 1973, 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1995, the last year in which the awards were presented. For the final ceremony, the founder, Stanley Marcus, received one of his own awards

Bud Kilpatrick
Margaret Clarke Miller
Maurice Tumarkin
This yellow ultra suede maxi coat dress with hand embroidery is available at Beautifully made with a hand written signature inside, it is fully lined and is a fine example of the couture design work of Bud Kilpatrick.

Hong Kong Bride


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Joanne from Hong Kong in her gown from

It’s always such an honor to be a part of a wedding. We’ve had the privilege of our vintage gowns being worn by several brides around the world. Joanne, from Hong Kong, just sent this photo. She looks exquisite and oh so happy! It’s always interesting to see who, in what part of the world, will want a certain style of vintage. This simple beaded dress is understated and lovely and looks perfect on Joanne.

I had the opportunity to be in Hong Kong for a few days once. It was fascinating! and there was so much good shopping- everything from antique Chinese to current goods. I loved watching the Chinese junks out on the water. All my life I’ve been intrigued by Chinese culture. Once when I was very young I made a little Chinese garden in a dish….and I loved the story Mom used to tell us of the Chinese lovers in the blue willow pattern on a plate. A sad and (probably not true) famous story.

My trip to Hong Kong occurred when I was spending a year in Taiwan teaching English. I remember Hong Kong feeling like the U.S. in comparison to the little town of Keelung, Taiwan, where I was living. It was Christmas time and I was missing home a bit when I visited there to renew my Visa. I found my self in a gorgeous shopping mall that had the same Christmas decorations as I had seen in Copley mall in Boston!- huge hanging snow flakes and ornaments…and every where people were speaking English. At any other time in my life Hong Kong would have felt excitingly foreign but that visit was like a 2 day trip home because of those little things as well as all the visitors from all over the world, which I was used to seeing in Boston. Someday I hope to return. Maybe I’ll run into Joanne- now that would be incredible!