Friday, March 27, 2015

Fredericks Of Hollywood

Before there was a Victoria's Secret there was the iconic Fredericks of Hollywood. The brain child of Frederick Mellinger, the first Fredericks of Hollywood was opened in 1946 on Hollywood Boulevard. Mr. Mellinger was greatly influenced by the lingerie being made in Europe during the 40s and sought to bring those sexy styles to the USA.  He worked closely with the motion picture industry and is credited with developing the padded and push-up bras.  Fredericks of Hollywood's core business was actually mail order and with their racy catalogs and aggressive advertising the company gained a national clientele.  In the 80s, the company became a bit more mainstream when they opened shops in malls across America.  They tamed down their sexy image somewhat and added a line of clothing. The dress below is from that era. Still pretty sexy by 80s standards.

Vintage Fredericks of Hollywood Dress

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Hey David, Woman Up"

As you might imagine, with a vintage clothing shop I try to stay on top of current trends in fashion and design. Seems counter intuitive I know, but fashion repeats itself and what was outdated one year becomes another season's hottest look. Take the 70s for example. Its influence is being seen this week on the runways of NYFW, in an exhibit on YSL and Halston at the Museum of FIT, and on the set of Mad Men where this the final season will embrace the fashion of the 70s.

Don Draper - now that's a man.  

I also follow many fashion and lifestyle bloggers, of all ages, but mainly women.  No offense to the male fashion bloggers out there, I primarily sell women's clothing.

Yes, there are male fashion bloggers who blog about women's fashion, hello Bryanboy.

This morning one of my favorite fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Natalie Joos, posted an opinion piece on her blog Tales Of Endearment about a recent "breakup" she had with a "love" interest.  The italics?  She went on two dates. I've been out of the dating scene a long time, but two dates wouldn't constitute a relationship that required a "breakup" when I was dating. In this hurry-up, my-clock-is-ticking, throw-away society, maybe two dates is a lifetime. I don't know and hope I never have to find out. What I do know is that telling a person you're not in to them is hard to do, especially if you have accepted them as a friend on Facebook.

In a throwaway society breaking up is STILL hard to do

Anyway, what makes the piece funny is that Natalie uses screen shots to show the actual text messages between her and her poor clueless love interest, David. 

David, David, David, on the two dates you went on you didn't get that she was a blogger?  A blogger who blogs about dating?

So poor clueless David very awkwardly breaks off their relationship the way it probably started, via his iphone. That was Mistake #1. Then he does a very "unmanly" thing and tells Natalie that he has met another woman, Mistake #2, and follows with Mistake #3, when he attempts to woo her back after the new relationship fizzles.  Really David? Two women, two breakups, three dates? Clearly the odds are not in his favor. Natalie should be doing a little happy dance that they didn't date longer.  What a complete mess she might be in if she and poor clueless David were together for, oh lets say, four dates!

Lesson: Don't end relationships via text messaging or emails unless you are prepared to have it spread across the internet.

Coming from a happy place myself I thought the piece was funny (sorry Natalie if you are truly in pain). I assume that as a professional woman with assets to protect, Natalie was advised to alert poor clueless David that she was running this piece and sharing their "intimate" online conversation, online. I also assume that he can handle being presented to the world as a clumsy moronic male since clumsy moronic males are popular fodder these days and a staple in beer, insurance, and detergent ads. How I long for the Marlboro Man! (get the Mad Men reference?) He was such a hunk, I'd wash that smelly smoke filled flannel shirt any day!

Clumsy, moronic, males are not the Marlboro Man.

So the voyeur in me enjoyed this post. Having done my fair share of dating in my twenties, and having been on both sides of the inevitable breakup, I can look back at those times for the inconsequential part of my life that they were. 

News Flash: Dramaless breakups take practice, is it really something you want to get good at? 

It was Natalie's last statement that got me thinking that maybe her post wasn't meant to be humorous, maybe she really is in pain or at the very least, embarrassed. I mean, couldn't poor clueless David come up with a better excuse then the truth?  Instead of trying to be honest, couldn't he have told her he was really an actor known for his super hero movies but is now doing a play on Broadway and therefore unavailable for the next few months? Oh wait, that's the plot to the Oscar nominated movie Birdman, go see it! Prior to cellphones and the internet, clueless David might have actually gotten away with that bit of fiction. It's a much better story for Natalie to tell then the real one, "I was dumped for another woman".  Ouch! That hurts! What do women do when they are angry and hurt? They belittle their enemy and call them names of course. So poor honorable David's emasculation becomes complete with Natalie's final request that he "Man Up".

Man up, will you David?

"Man Up", what does that mean in 2015? I'm not really sure. I think it use to mean own up to your mistakes and don't cry. I do know that in the last 20 years there has been a conscious movement to feminize young men.  From athletics to academics there has been a shift to provide more opportunities for young women, often at the expense of young men. Girls are encouraged to speak up for themselves, to be assertive, to not be afraid to push the limits, to reach out of their comfort zones, and to be direct. However, these exact same behaviors when exhibited by boys in the classroom are often considered disruptive and dangerous.  Check the stats at any school and you will find that more boys than girls have been diagnosed with, and are being medicated for, ADHD. "The Walking Dead" are really 12 year old boys jacked up on Ritalin. So as our girls become more self assured and competitive, our boys are being told to behave "appropriately", to express their "feelings", and to act, well, more like a girl.  

"There's no crying in baseball"

Today's young men are the antithesis of Don Draper. Can you see Don Draper slobbering over his phone, tears streaming down his face, telling Betty how bad he feels about "cheating" on her with the postwoman? Hell no, Don is a real man, a strong man, a provider.  He lies, and his fictional world is in itself, fictional. He does what he wants and his wimpy young wife doesn't command an ounce of his respect. 

Real Men treat women with respect.

Dating stinks, but ladies if you are going to call out a man for telling the truth, for being honest, for admitting his mistake, lets do it correctly. Since those are all behaviors we now expect of our sons, partners, and husbands, what Natalie really meant to say was;  Hey David, you bumbling mess of a Millennial, "Woman Up".

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Star Fall Dress

Really it should be called the "Snow Fall" dress but I'm looking forward to summer nights gazing at the stars. Enough of winter already!

Friday, February 13, 2015

“Yes, Virginia, there really is a John Meyer of Norwich”

Growing up in rural Connecticut I didn't meet my first "prepster" until I went to College in the late 70s.  Tucked between Yale and Harvard and with a "Little Ivy" around every corner,  it's hard to imagine there were any preppy offspring left to attend Connecticut's flagship university, but there were. You could pick the men out in their LL Bean "duck boots", sweaters, and barn coats.  The women were a little harder to spot but a Coach handbag, pearls, or anything sporting a John Meyer of Norwich label was a dead giveaway she spent the summers on Nantucket (probably busing tables, but let's keep with the rich girl image!).  The John Meyer line was an aspirational brand, one I couldn't afford to own until I started working.  Like LL Bean and Coach, John Meyer clothing was made of the highest quality and I can personally attest that anything made prior to the 90s lasted decades.  It's a great day if I source a vintage John Meyer garment as it was the day I picked up the set above.  To be honest this skirt and vest did take me by surprise. I was on a buying trip when I saw this tapestry outfit and I grabbed it for it's boho style, I never even looked at the label until I got home and began sorting my purchases. At first I wasn't actually convinced it was a John Meyer, "preppy" and "boho" are oxymorons, but the quality of construction and material erased any doubt.  I was further convinced when I saw the exact same garment featured here in a blog post about the John Meyer company by The Vintage Traveler.  I'm still debating whether or not this set will make it to my Etsy shop.  I feel it's so unique and representative of the "sophisticated" side of the 70s that it might have to stay with me a bit longer. I'm sure it will feel right at home with my vintage YSL suit of the same decade! Speaking of YSL, if you are planning a trip to NYC be sure to catch Yves Saint Laurent & Halston: Fashioning the 70s running thru April 18, 2015 at the Museum at FIT.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Victor Costa, The Master of Glam

A small sampling of some of the wonderful vintage Victor Costa dresses available on Etsy

Oh, Hi Duke!

A little behind the scenes view of what happens during a typical photo shoot. The perils of working from home with two lovable golden retrievers who always want to be by my side. At least he knows now not to step on the backdrop (learned the hard way!).