The Little Black Dress

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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…..my 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 http://www.ctmercantile.com

https://www.etsy.com/listing/95134531/little-black-dress-sale-breakfast-at?ga_search_query=audrey

“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

Summer Brides

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Wedding clothes from http://www.ctmercantile.com

vintage gowns from CTMercantile.com

Raspberry Beret

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Raspberry Beret

Shop owner Rachael Bankey in front of Raspberry Beret, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Last month I took my yearly trip to Boston….I know February is a crazy time to go to Boston (unless you happen to live there). The weather was surprisingly mild, I had a great time, and came home with some real treasures for the shop. While there I went on a 2 hours shopping spree with a professional picker. While he hunted for jewelry and art, I searched for vintage clothing…and found a beautiful Teal Traina gown.

When I’m in Boston I always stop at my favorite consignment shop, Raspberry Beret. In fact I usually hold out on shopping for myself for anything current until I’m there. The delightful owner, Rachael Bankey owns two Raspberry Beret stores. ( I always visit both). One is in Wakefield, MA and the other in Cambridge. She and her staff are always helpful and friendly. The beautiful clothes there are gently worn or new with tags and very reasonable. Each store has a section of great vintage, as well as a designer section.  I recommend a visit to Raspberry Beret if you are in the area or planning a trip. Just click on the photo for directions, philosophy of the store and some samples of what you’ll find there. It’s truly a fun shopping destination.

Southwest vintage- Tucson style

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In the 40s and 50s Tucson was a popular destination, with its sunny weather, hospitality and desert beauty. Hollywood glamorized the southwest with wild west movies and tourists flocked to Arizona and other Southwest destinations. Among the fashions that came out of this era were the tiered skirts and dresses  popular for patio parties and fiestas. Along with silver and turquoise jewelry and tooled leather, they were among the souvenirs that visitors took home with them. “Called patio dresses for the inviting outdoor livestyle of Tucson.” these dresses were patterned after Native American and Mexican clothing. Colorful and fun with lots of rick rack they are a great addition to a vintage collection. Read this fascinating article by Sydney Ballesteros for Zocalo- Tucson Magazine for more information about this southwestern style. http://www.thezmag.com/article-615-western-femininity.html This skirt is available at CTMercantile on etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/94259304/vintage-50s-full-circle-skirt-patio

All things Victorian

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Named for Queen Victoria- the Victorian era in fashion and every day life was full of lace and ruffles, high button shoes, big hats, heavy carved furniture. Even the houses were lacey! Love this photo by Betsy Leacock of Tucson, Arizona. http://www.etsy.com/listing/64622133/8-x-10-victorian-house-vintage-photo-by?ref=sr_list_2&sref=&ga_search_submit=Search&ga_search_query=victorian+house+photo&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_view_type=list&ga_search_type=vintage&ga_facet=vintage

Photo by Betsy Leacock

Something about that era always seems to spell romance. Although too much can be, well too much. The great thing about vintage dressing is that you can combine the old with the new for a great look. Here’s a Victorian petticoat on www.ctmercantile.com which would be smashing with cowboy boots and a cute jacket, or beautiful as part of an all white ensemble.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/94097144/victorian-petticoat-antique-lingerie

Victorian petticoat

Victorian petticoat with crochet trim- $85