Everyone I know has been busy cleaning out their closets lately. Not necessarily to make way for more clothes/shoes/accessories althoughbut because we women have become to realize that we don’t need so much stuff.
Ethical and sustainable fashion is a growing movement worldwide. Fashion blogs are talking about affordable fashion and more conscious style minimalism. Here in Vancouver we have a gently used boutique that fundraises for the Vancouver Hospice Society. The Vancouver Hospice is where my late husband spent his remaining days four years ago. Believe me when I say that this topic is not at the top of my list of things to talk about, however it was the most caring place to be for end of life care. They have an amazing staff and a support system that continues after your loved one has passed.
Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS) was incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 2003 by a group of dedicated individuals who recognized the need for a society that could advocate for people and families facing end-of-life issues.
A few years later, volunteers Dell Whelan and Jenny Shaw spearheaded the concept of a charity shop as a fundraising arm of VHS. The first HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique) opened its doors in 2006 selling quality gently used women’s clothing. HOB Too followed later, selling vintage treasures, housewares and furniture.
Both stores rely solely on items donated from the community.
They are volunteer operated by two separate committees with over 140 volunteers in total. All funds raised go directly to VHS’s 8 bed hospice home on Granville Street.
Classic is timeless, classic is elegant and it’s safe – not to be confused with boring. When it comes to investment bags and shoes, it’s best to stick with enduring quality, especially if you’re on a budget. At least that’s my feeling. So when I scour the vintage markets my eyes always seem to travel to the designers who stand the test of time. And I have a good eye for certain pieces of value. When you buy well-designed vintage that never goes out of style you can always mix it up with something current.
At the Palm Springs Vintage Market I recently bought a pair of perfect fitting, barely worn Ferragamo Vara Pumps. Only one pair in my exact size. They were obviously waiting for me.
This is my second pair. Last year I also bought a pair of Vara Pumps (in photo) at this same market. Again; one pair in my size. Before I tried the first pair on I always associated these shoes with either matronly women or sensible ones who work in offices, of which I am neither.
Even though you can’t beat the craftsmanship, I was never looking to own a pair until my practical side got the better of me. Also I enjoy the thrill of the find.
So when a person in their 20’s and a person in their 80’s can wear the very same shoe with panache, that’s what I call a true CLASSIC!
Salvatore Ferragamo: the grandpa of the Italian shoe
When most shoe lovers think about designer shoes, the first designers that come to their minds are Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik. All super gorgeous, but incredibly high heels. Little do they know, that one the first popular designer heel was a very comfortable one: Ferragamo’s Vara pump. One of the most sold pair of shoes worldwide and an iconic shoe that breathes beauty, craftsmanship and above all, comfort.
The midheel, calfskin pump is detailed with a gros-grain bow on the toe, fastened with a metal buckle, with the family signature engraved in the leather. The shoe is designed to fit into the lifestyle of a sporty yet elegant woman.
The Ferragamo empire started with Salvatore Ferragamo, an innovator in footwear design. Salvatore was born in Bonito, Italy as the 11th of 14 children in a humble, agricultural family. Ever since he was young, he was determined to become a shoe maker and started his first apprenticeship in Naples at a cobbler, when he was only 9 years old. He moved back to Bonito while he was still an adolescent, and he opened his workshop with six assistants, where he produced custom-fitted shoes. His brother worked in the States during that time and he invited Salvatore to come to the US, Salvatore only being 17 years old. So he went to Santa Barbara, to open his own repair shop, where he repaired the shoes of celebrities. In 1923, he opened the Hollywood Boot Shop, where celebrities could buy outrageous footwear, with appliques, glitter, feathers and pearls. He was named the ‘Shoemaker of the stars’, designing for stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Soon enough Ferragamo labels could be found all over the States.
His standards for measuring and sizing, combined with originality, influenced the entire shoe-industry.
Introducing Alexis, who moved to Palm Springs one week ago from New York. Stalked Approached her last Sunday at the once-a-month Palm Springs Vintage Market. My friend and I couldn’t help but notice her put together from head-to-toe unique look. Had to talk to her.
Alexis told us she’s starting her own line here in Palm Springs. More on that later. She previously was assistant to designer Stacey Bendet of Alice & Olivia – a New York City-based contemporary clothing company which I happen to like very much. The global brand launched at Barneys in 2002, and is now sold in over fifty countries.
It’s no secret I Love Hats. Among her personal line will be hats (she makes them herself) with interesting interior linings such as this. Hidden surprises are always nice. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Until then….
“His are the only clothes in which I am myself,” Hepburn once said of Givenchy,
according to Vogue. “He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”
Audrey Hepburn, as the designer’s muse, accompanied him in inventing a style that would redefine standards of beauty.
The House of Givenchy is sad to report the passing of its founder Hubert de Givenchy at the age of 91 (February 21, 1927 –March 10, 2018), a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century. He will be greatly missed.
THE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE
Hubert de Givenchy founded his namesake fashion house in 1952. No sooner did it open than it earned a reputation for breaking with fashion codes of its time. After an incredibly successful 40 years career he would be succeeded by some of fashion’s great talents that contributed to the house of Givenchy ongoing story.
Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy founded his namesake House in 1952. That same year, he presented a collection that would leave an indelible mark on fashion history: his “separates” – elegant blouses and light skirts blending architectural lines and simplicity – met with enormous success in light of the more constricted looks of the day.
He also dressed the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly and many other famous and non-famous women. The most memorable fashion moment maybe: Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress, in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
The NY Times referred to him as the Fashion Pillar of Romantic Elegance.
For me it’s always a kick to wander the aisles and booths of any outdoor market.
Here in Palm Springs you have the weekly farmers market & the village street fest which encompasses pretty much everything. Then there’s an outdoor weekend art market twice a month and on the first Sunday of every month, the Vintage market which takes place on the grounds outside the Camelot Theatres. They call it Vintage with a View. Keep in mind vintage is a broad term and there’s also a lot of garage style items which shouldn’t be there. You must have a good eye(s)!
Two years ago I discovered this market. I was with a friend from Vancouver and right off the bat with my radar in tact, I spotted a pair of vintage Pucci sandals in my size. They were a good deal and would have been a better deal had I not smashed my phone on the pavement in the excitement of my too-good-to-be-true deal while trying to find my wallet to pay for them. Anyway, my friend was excited to find a woman named Maura who has been collecting “one off” enamelled pins (or brooches) for over 30 years. All of them (mostly flowers) in excellent condition. At first I wasn’t so interested in them but watched my friend with her 6-carat diamond ring purchase a whole bunch of them. They reminded me of something my grandmother would wear. So as I continued looking at them they started to grow on me and I bought one. Thinking if she likes them that much, they must be collectible. When I got home I ended up wearing it much more than I ever thought. They are a fashion statement accessory for sweaters & jean jackets. A little old fashioned in a pleasant way.
I encountered Maura again last week because they added an extra Sunday for Modernism and purchased more of these pins.
Boy these flowers, they grow on you!
A few other items of interest:
If you are a creative person you can make jewellery, pillow cases, clothing, purses, etc. from many repurposed materials.
It really depends on how you wear the current in-Style wide leg trousers.
Cropped or not, I think they can appear either sloppy or incredibly chic. But rather than taking our cues from today’s crop of stylish models and celebs, why not go back in time and look to style icons for a more classic approach?
Because CLASSIC never fades.
How to Wear Wide-Leg Pants Like a Style Icon
One rule of thumb is if you go wider at the bottom, go tighter or at least more fitted at the top. Well maybe that’s my rule but it tends to balance out this look which scares many women. It’s a nice break from the skinny leg we’ve been wearing forever. Don’t throw out your skinnies..just saying it’s fun to try something different. And you can chic it up.
Thus, ahead learn how to wear wide-leg pants from the original style stars, like Lauren Hutton and Jackie Kennedy, for the most timeless of looks. You know what they say: “Everything old is new again.” I love that!
In one of Hutton’s most famous photographs, the model and actress chose a cropped pair of wide-leg pants that graze her ankle, styling them with a silky blouse, blazer, and wide-brim hat. But the key to her look? Her strappy metallic heels that sexed up the ensemble.
Jagger rocked her white wide-leg pants with a matching double-breasted blazer for a winning outfit. Skip the wide collar shirt and bowler hat (even if you’re bowlingskip it) for a plunging camisole and loose waves. You’re ready to hit the town.
JACKIE KENNEDYAs current now as before. (don’t forget turtlenecks are in again). Kennedy’s look is perfect for the kind of in-between weather we’ve been having—wear your wide-leg pair with a cashmere turtleneck and light trench coat for balmier days. Switch to heavier fabrics when it’s colder. Super chic!
Hepburn was absolutely statuesque in her wide-leg pants. Why they work so well? A high-waist fit that is accentuated by a tucked-in blouse and built-in belt. Look for a similar pair that skims the floor when you’re wearing flats. No need for heels with this look although having height helps.
Super Casual. The actress and dancer chose an oversize pair of wide-legs that could easily overwhelm her frame, but she made it work by knotting her blouse to show off her waist.
There is a certain style to GLAMPING and it means No Tent Required.
Nothing wrong with those adventurous, real outdoorsy, down to earth types who lug around a backpack and set up their tent and make a fire to cook their food. It’s just not for me at this stage (and it never was). But I love the outdoors, breathing in fresh air and sleeping partially outside.
The next step up from tent camping is owning a VW Eurovan Camper that comes equipped with a fridge, a 2 burner stovetop, a furnace, 2 fold down beds (you can call it a two-bedroom but it’s a bit of a stretch), storage space, surround sound for music and a pop top so you can actually stand up and move around a bit. And a shower…out the back (you have to open up the back so it’s better in warm temperatures and it’s not always the best idea to use it completely naked). Just ask me how I know this!
The best thing about a smaller camper is that you get to park it almost anywhere rather than having to stay in an RV park.Almost…because many places don’t let you camp overnight just anywhere but there are countless beautiful state parks which means you can drive into a spot either right on, or much closer to lakes, rivers and the ocean. It feels like camping…just much more comfortable. That, and wearing my cashmere pajamas. Having a dog or two wagging along is a big bonus. In fact, I wouldn’t want to do it without them.
The added advantage of a smaller camper is we’ve ended up in places and spaces that could not accommodate a large RV, like the middle of the Redwoods, Ca, the Badlands in S. Dakota and on top of Dead Horse Canyon, Utah (where Thelma & Louise drove off that same cliff, we decided to take the slow road down). It’s an adventure in itself.
Having a luxury RV like a Country Coach or Prevost is a way of life for many people and I can relate to the charm of life on the road and stopping here and there for a length of time. But you should see some of these RV’s…I’m talking luxury homes away from homes. Million dollar+ homes on wheels that are nicer than many people’s condos. I have a few friends who live like that. They have a home base but drive their luxe coaches from place to place and set up anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The true beauty of travelling this way is that you get to see so much more than if you were to hop on a flight to go straight from A to B. You must also have the luxury of time.
Owning a vehicle/home like a large RV means that you must reside in RV parks that are setup for that size of home away from home. There are only a few RV parks that I’ve encountered (one is “Outdoor Resorts” in Las Vegas where our friends stayed – it was beautiful with a huge outdoor living space complete with tiki hut, living area and kitchen) that I can imagine myself staying in, except no VW’s allowed. Anyway, it’s whatever works for you. These people end up paying each night to park, more than some hotels charge.
So even though I love the roominess of some RV’s I’ve come across, what I really want is…. drumroll…..an AIRSTREAM. Only people who really know me will understand this. Yes, since the first time I saw one I’ve wanted one. There’s just something about the Airstream. It has a caché of its own.
Owning one for camping purposes is the equivalent to owning a Vespa for scooting purposes.
Allright allright allright… it’s the stylishness I confess. I’ve been eyeing them for a while now. One guy even caught me taking pictures of a vintage model in Palm Springs a perfect place for one wouldn’t you say?.. and there I was snapping away and it turned out to be his Vintage Airstream. Then we had a whole conversation on them becoming more mainstream now (aw, I hate when that happens), more pricey and more exclusive and definitely a collectible. He owns two but has homes elsewhere….blah, blah, blah…(airstream talk). His name was Matthew.
If you don’t believe me just refer to the paragraph below from a recent article in Vogue Magazine. I mean….it’s Vogue, so let’s talk about style.
The first Airstream was built in 1929, and almost 90 years later, the iconic aluminum trailer still has quite a following:Matthew McConaughey and Lenny Kravitz are proud owners, and many restaurants, shops, and hotels have invested in Airstreams as new forms of food trucks, showrooms, or guest room options. And let’s not forget the Airstream’s supporting role in Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift’s BFF road trip for Vogue back in February.
I don’t know about everyone else but I enjoy searching for a good vintage piece. Something that is considered a “good find” so to speak. This is not entirely true because I have never searched very hard, most of the vintage things I’ve bought was found by accident. In other words I wasn’t really looking for anything specific, the stuff just found me (they find me everywhere). But it’s amazing what you can come across if you know what to look for and have some patience. I’m usually delightfully surprised by at least one item. The best places to shop of course are upscale areas in metropolises like New York, London or L.A. I still have a pair of pants purchased from a flea market on Portobelllo Road in Notting Hill. Well made clothes never go out of style.
This kind of shopping comes by way of specialty vintage boutiques (like Decades in Los Angeles where I once bought a small Gucci bag), vintage clothing fairs (where I scored my Pucci wedge sandals), consignment stores (make friends with the owner and they’ll let you know when something special comes in), auctions, on-line sales sites (1st Dibs?), flea markets, estate sales, even yard or garage sales. I bought a one-of-a-kind Fendi baguette from a yard sale of all places. Never used (by the seller that is). In fact it was so cheap that I wondered if it was a knock-off at first. The “best-ever”bag find was bought by a friend of mine – a real steal. She purchased a Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag for only $5.00 and It’s real (major bag envy because I paid full price for mine). So we can benefit from the relatively small group of people who don’t know what they have or just don’t care.
If it’s an estate sale, head for the bedroom where the clothes of the lady of the house are often laid out. Here you could be face-to-face with the situation vintage shoppers dream about – the discovery of an entire wardrobe of a person whose taste is much like your own, and in your size. Keep dreaming, and make her a rich person who shopped in Paris, whose heirs care more about her Sisleys than her Schiaparellis. It can happen. I came thisclose to scoring a vintage Chanel jacket that fit me to a tee rummaging through someone’s closet. I no sooner put it down (never do this) before someone else snapped it up. That opportunity has not presented itself again. I think of it as “the one that got away” but I’m still dreaming….
Such sales in resort areas like Palm Beach, Long Island or Santa Barbara (I just bought a pair of Chanel costume earrings in *Santa Barbara) offer particularly rich possibilities but other suburban places and outskirts have yielded legendary vintage finds. I have friends who are experts at recognizing quality vintage jewelry (a category onto itself) which really helps.
Here’s what you really need to know:
Obviously just because a garment is old does not automatically make it better. OLD is just OLD.
What you are looking for is vintage clothes (accessories, etc.) of great quality and interest. One of the primary reasons for shopping vintage is the chance to buy a garment as beautifully styled and made as the couture clothes of today for less than you would pay for the cheesy, cookie-cutter stuff at the mall. This is easier to accomplish than you might think. Many pre 60’s clothes were made by hand, using beautiful fabrics that are now too expensive for most manufacturers to use (like a perfectly cut navy gabardine blazer I once bought in Toronto with nice buttons) or they have ceased to be made at all.
You should not settle for anything other than perfect or near-perfect condition. If the item is in the almost-perfect category make sure the problem is something you can fix.
Look for great styling, expensive or intricate fabrics, interesting finishing touches, and first-class hand workmanship. These are the qualities that make a vintage garment a wearable classic.
You can always mix classic with your contemporary clothing, in fact it looks best to do so. Most of all have fun looking. Remember, there’s only one of everything!
*the shop where I bought the earrings had one pair of Manolo Blahnik ornate jeweled flats that fit me. The store owner was going to let them go for only $20 but the toe was pointier than I like so I didn’t buy them. Sometimes even if the shoe fits and the price is better than…you might have to unfortunately say “no” if the style doesn’t suit you. You loss is someone else’s gain. Omg Only $20??? You ask yourself, should I have bought them anyway? Shades of Carrie Bradshaw…
Have you made any great discoveries?
Other Sources:Vintage Style – a great overall guide by Tiffany Dubin (former founder & director of Sotheby’s world famous fashion department store in New York) & Ann E. Berman (well-known freelance writer on art collecting and design for publications such as Town and Country, Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living & The Wall Street Journal) – Harper Collins. p.s. buy the way, I bought the hard cover book at a garage sale during Modernism week in Palm Springs while out riding my bike.
It encompasses our lifestyle choices in general. Our décor, art, kinds of food we like and restaurants we go to, books we like to read, where we prefer to shop, places we like to travel to, hobbies, movies and people we like to hang out with. Lots of likes! Our tastes are a blueprint for our personal style.Sometimes we can appreciate other people’s tastes even though it’s not “our style”. In any event there’s a lot of choices out there and lots of exciting things to discover, new and old. The key is to appreciate the whole.
Stepping into Dazzles, a Palm Springs Vintage Department Store has a unique style of its own. It’s a definitely a step back in time. Owners Mike and Keith are often asked if their things are reproductions. They’re not. They’re all original items ranging from the 1920’s – 1970’s and everything is in near perfect to perfect condition. Impressive. I was with my sister at the time. It was fun rummaging around and the more time we spent looking, the more we found stuff we liked. Because it’s always nice to mix ‘n match. And stepping back in time has a special feel. Can’t exactly describe it in words – it just does.
Photos: Lisa King (double click on any to enlarge)
There’s so many things you can say about them….sure, they’re comfortable, sure they’re practical, they bring out your manly side (if you’re a woman) and your womanly side (if you’re a man – kidding!), your love of all things equestrian (even though you can’t remember the last time you were on a horse), and they look good with.…..with what? I’m referring to the original Gucci horsebit although there are plenty of other equally unattractive ones out there.
When I wore mine the other day a friend commented that it looked like something Martha Stewart might wear. No offense Martha, but I would prefer to be compared to your cooking style more than your clothing style. It’s not the same as saying “it’s something Kate Moss would wear” (even though Kate has been seen wearing them on occasion – I did the research). Well guess what? They’re baaack in a big way…but slightly updated with different colours, patterns (including leopard) and a cool studded version (ohhh studs!). Does that make them cooler?
So, what do you think? Love them or Leave them? I’d like to know.