There's something about these prints of the past that I can't resist, and lately that's extended to clothing for me. While I was in Minneapolis for Quilt Market, I also had a chance to visit some of the local vintage clothing boutiques in the hopes of finding something special to add to my wardrobe. I was not disappointed! First on my list was LULA (which means "lucky lady" in Hawaiian). Just seeing their window of dreamy pinks and greens was enough to make my heart flutter!
Once indoors, I was greeted by racks of colorful clothing from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Right now my favorite decade is the 60s; I'm still a little wary of the 70s, though I have found a few pieces from that decade. I love how so many vintage pieces are as classic today as they were then. They really do fit right into contemporary closets! And as someone who's always searching for ways to stretch my dollars, I'm all for buying clothes that will stand the test of time!
Hayley, the shop owner (pictured below), was most helpful in giving me her honest opinion on how things looked (I would rather have someone tell me that I don't look good in a piece than purchase an ill-fitting garment). As I know nothing about fashion, I always seek the help of the shop owner and ask them for styling advice on what to wear with the clothes so I can actually wear them with confidence right away.
I found these lovelies (below) and more to try on. Are you detecting a theme here? Yes, it's pink and green. I tried not to get myself in the photo but I see I managed to catch my legs and red skirt in the dreaded mirror! Those pesky mirrors! I spotted the green dress myself and insisted on giving it a try, but it ended up being too large. Hayley, however, pointed out that it would be very easy to take it in on the sides with a simple line of stitching. Since I'm not averse to doing a little work, I decided to go ahead and purchase it. One of my favorite purchases was the pair of pink flared gingham pants hanging to the right. I can't wait to wear those. Nothing better than pink gingham in my book!
One of the things I learned from my friend who has been buying vintage clothing for years is that vintage sizing is a lot different than modern day sizing. If the vintage clothing has a size label on it, you have to look for a larger size than you would normally wear today since a lot of the vintage brands started their sizing at more like size 8 or 10—and those sizes are about twice as much as what you'd wear in modern sizing. My friend gave me the guideline that if you wear a size 6, for example, you'd likely wear a size 12 in vintage clothing. Thankfully, Hayley takes the guesswork out of it by labeling her tags with appropriate size. The other thing I like about the tags is that they list the era the piece is from—that's nice for someone looking for clothes from a specific time period.
Here's that lovely green dress from Hayley's shop on my vintage Bauman dress form. I have two vintage dress forms—the Bauman (first photo below) and my 1950s Acme dress form (pictured in the second and third photos below). The former was considerably more expensive ($120) than the latter, which I purchased for $20 eight years ago. They're both in pretty good shape for their years! I also have a newer child's dress form which I'm not sure I'm going to keep unless I want to start making clothes for my new niece!
It might not surprise those of you who know that I love pink that I did go home with this delightful pink shift dress. After Hayley confirmed that it fit properly, I went ahead and bought it. I like the shift style because it's comfortable and flatters a variety of silhouettes, including my odd one, which has virtually no hips. Yes, dresses are a hard fit for me but I find the most success with ones that have smaller hip areas. The shifts also work well on me because they are designed to fit loosely, as Hayley says.
I love it that this dress still has its original tag in it. It was made in Honolulu and reminds me of a tamed down version of my favorite Lilly Pulitzer dresses. I managed to squeeze in a stop to the local Lilly Pulitzer signature store, too!
I also went home with that romantic green overcoat that was in the window. I love its nice and loose, oversized silhouette. Hayley gave me some suggestions on how to style it for both casual and formal wear. It's truly a unique piece!
I also found this sweet vintage pink floral pin at Hayley's shop. It's pictured below with a 1960s sweater bolero jacket accented with mohair that I purchased at another area vintage shop.
Here's a circa 1955 dress I purchased at another Minneapolis vintage shop. It's much more formal than I would normally need but the price was right ($20) and I loved the pale green gray lace overlay and big bow on the skirt.
I've even had good luck purchasing vintage clothes closer to home so far. I found this pretty pink 1960s dress for a song—just $15—at a local shop. You can wear it with pants or if you're short like me, as a dress. The girl who sold it me suggested I wear it with a belt, so I've shown it both ways.
I think my favorite vintage dress I've purchased so far is this 1967 green and teal beauty. The shop owner only wanted $12 for it because the sleeves had been ripped off (as shown in 2nd photo below). Maybe that would scare some customers off but it didn't faze me since I knew the solution was simple sew job. I simply turned under the edges with my handy Bernina (as shown in the 3rd photo below). There wasn't much fabric to work with to turn under but it all worked out. The bow is made of a lighter weight fabric than the rest of the dress and it's so long that it extends to the bottom of the dress, which really makes the dress in my opinion. My husband tried to convince me to cut it shorter but I'm glad I resisted as I've gotten so may compliments on the dress as it is. I've worn it about 10 times already, and it's funny, the only people who seem to know it's vintage are the ones who work in vintage clothing stores.
So as I close this post, I wanted to ask you a few questions—do you wear vintage clothes from the 50s or 60s? If so, do you have any tips for buying them and do you have any favorite places to buy them? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Many of the shop owners I spoke with said that people regularly come to them asking them if they'd be interested in buying a family member or friend's vintage clothing. I got the impression that these people who approach them don't see a lot of value in the clothes they're trying to sell, but to me, I see more value in vintage than I do new clothes. Vintage clothes seem to be much better made for one, and there's nothing like having the real thing! If you were lucky enough to actually wear any of these types of clothes during the actual 50s, 60s, and 70s, I'd also love to hear from you. Did you keep some of your clothes from this era (like my mom who kept practically everything?) or did you get rid of them (like my mother-in-law)?
I'll be back next week with another post on some of my other vintage finds from my recent trips to Kansas City and Omaha. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at the link under the About Me section if you have any thought or tips you'd like to share.