Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lore Podcast Verdict: GO LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW (Aaron Mahnke's Supernatural History Podcast)


In the words of Fats Domino, "Yes, it's me, and I'm in love again....". I had my Louisville loot to show you this week, but haven't I been a lazy-so-and-so and not gotten around to photographing it in the daytime hours. Well, tell a lie, I have been busy. This week I've been to a dr's appointment for a yearly checkup (kept waiting for an hour, not a happy camper that afternoon), eaten dinner and gabbed my head off over at Emma from Fiercest Lilliputian's g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s new house (I love eating pizza and talkin' trash more than anything in the universe), and have been clawing my way through a French book for the Alliance Fran├žaise book club meeting next month (it's good, but reading a whole fiction book in another language is more grueling than I remembered-- I read so fast in English that it's hard for me to slow down in French so I actually understand what's going on). However! I thought I would check in with you to give you a podcast rec that will change your life if you're a fellow devotee of the creepy and unexplained.

GUYS, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO LISTEN TO LORE RIGHT NOW. Do it! I'll wait....just take your time. Come back here when you're finished so we can talk about it.

Ok, so you're obsessed now, right? Or if you didn't immediately heed my exhortations to jump on the Lore bandwagon, 1) shame on you, don't you trust me by now and 2) let me tell you a little bit more about the series/where I'm coming from podcast-wise and see if I can't sway you to my way of thinking.

Working as I do in an atmosphere where there's lots of audio dead time, I am always on the lookout for new podcasts. I review books with my headphones on, solo, and at a relatively repetitive speed (unless I'm grappling with a particularly difficult French title about semiotics/philosophy/politics or something else where a firm grasp of the language doesn't necessarily give me an understanding of what the book is about), so I like to have programs that are essentially the equivalent of having company with me that I can focus on/disregard as needed. Problem? I hate like 99% of podcasts. Something about the medium lends itself to either being stultifyingly boring and pretentious (see: almost all history podcasts I've listened to) or too dumb to bear (see: most unscripted "comedy" podcasts where there's a comedian prattling on about the yogurt they had for lunch and "wasn't it weird, y'all! It was crazy! The yogurt was all like 'Eat meee, get in my belllly....' so yeah....that was good..."). Ones I listen to on a regular basis, and cannot recommend enough:
  • Fresh Air (duh, even though Terry Gross gets on my last nerve sometimes, how am I supposed to get my fix of pop culture/current events otherwise)
  • What's the T with RuPaul and Michelle Visage (for obvious reasons, it's like hanging out with two super cool people with only the occasional compulsory commerical about shaving kits by mail and mattresses)
  • New Yorker fiction podcast (because who knew writers could be such good readers of other people's work for the most part, and I've found all kind of authors I want to read more of through this one)
  • No Sleep Reddit podcast (I should be ashamed of this one, but I'm not-- I am so desperate for scary stuff I will go to the mirage in the desert and drink the sand when it's not water...and honestly, sometimes it IS really scary )
  • Le journal en fran├žais facile (sounds like it would be "easy, preschool" French but is actually pretty rigorous French daily news for even an experienced non-native speaker)
I've tried a lot of comedy/history/literature/French/movie podcasts with little to no success. And then along comes Lore under the "editors' choice" section of the Featured tab. The description says "Lore is a bi-weekly podcast about the history behind scary stories", which piqued my interest. But yeah, it probably sucks, right? WRRROOONG.

Like stories about witch trials and tribulations? Check out episode 12, "Half Hanged"

Aaron Mahnke writes, researches, produces and performs a twenty minute program every two weeks that focuses on a different supernatural, grisly, horrible or just downright creepy event. Subjects? Salem witchcraft, unexplained creatures, old wives' tales, mental asylums, haunted dolls, goblins, ghosts...he's only 15 episodes in so far, but to say he's made a favorable impression on this listener is a grand understatement. Each story is presented in an intelligent context with details and careful pacing enough to avoid the pitfalls of most history podcasts, the plodding retelling of events-- and THEN THIS HAPPENED, and THEN ANOTHER THING HAPPENED, dates dates dates, sources sources sources, then THAT ALSO HAPPENED. While using actual historical facts, he arranges said information with a fiction writer's attention to narrative suspense, keeping your thrill loving little listener's heart fluttering with interest for the duration of the program. This podcast feels kind of like a Twilight Zone/In Search of... mashup, with a healthy dose of that Reader's Digest encyclopdia set "Mysteries of the Unexplained" thrown in...and I don't know how to praise something higher. This is what we've been looking for, people! And someone actually made it!

The kind of scary I can get me some love, girl! says both the skeleton and the sea creature. (Source)

Two other programs I tried to listen to in the "others like this" made me appreciate what Mahnke DOESN'T do as much as what he does. One program seems to specialize in mindless ranting about "omg, y'all, I f-ck'n love f-ck'n ghosts and sh-t, you guys, REALLY, I'M SERIOUS" with the cohost call-and-responsing "Yeah, you like, like crazy horror type things and I mean, who else would go on a ghost tour like you did, did you like, see anything or was it scary or....?" "OH. MY GOSH, I was like freaking out because I'm just that weird kid who like has always been obsessed with scary stuff?" It felt like a documentary about upspeak more than it did a horror/history podcast, and I gave up after ten minutes. The other had three nerd dudes (my own kind, I know, but that doesn't make them immune to criticism) talking about historical events in very grave, serious tones, with super attention to source material ("And then this comes out of the August 1891 issue of the London Police Gazette, there's a pdf of it on our website if you want to check it out, and it reads [reads entire thing]") and little care for whether or not the information (which was spot-on spooky) was presented in a manner that was anywhere near listenable/interesting. If you read Dracula in a monotone with no inflection and paid special attention to the footnotes rather than the fact that dude is climbing up walls like a lizard and seducing young girls to drink their blood, I don't know what to tell you, you need to reassess what your POINT is.

I know I'm being mean, but again-- you have to recognize how this is not only a great show, but based on its competition, it's heads and shoulders above the field of horror podcast as we know it. I WANT ALL THE SHOWS TO BE LIKE THIS ONE.

I like that it looks like they're fighting. Also, maybe I should do a blog about the Illustrated Police Gazette bc holy heck.

Through interviews across the internet, I've learned that it takes this one-man operation about 30 hours of research, writing, and production to come up with each episode, which is kind of awe inspiring when you think about it-- a lot of the time, especially in this modern day of instant updates and instant gratification, I think it's hard for people to wrap their heads around how long it takes to actually create quality content. What takes me 15 minutes to listen to not counting commercials took him almost a full-time gig's week worth of time to create. No wonder he's a little chary to commit to a weekly rather than biweekly schedule. Don't kill yaself, Mahnke! We need you! I'm thinking about subscribing on Patreon and kicking in a few bucks so I can listen to the extra episodes and read the transcripts and support the whole endeavor. You know when yours truly and her hard earned dolla dollas are willing to part ways to something like this, it has to be truly awesome, and it is. 


Anyway! I don't want to give too much of it away, but go listen and do tell me what you think, I think it's BRILLIANT and I hope he makes 1,000,000 more episodes.

How about you? Seen anything horror-related I need to know about? How psyched are you about Halloween coming up in a couple weeks? What kind of podcasts do YOU listen to?

Gotta get going, but I will pull it together and take some pictures of what I brought back from Kentucky this weekend for your viewing pleasure next week. Have a fabulous weekend (IT'S THE FLEA MARKET, OMGGGG) and I'll talk to you soon! Til then.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy 2nd Anniversary To Us! (Vintage Anniversary Cards 1940's-1950's)

Good morning!

Daaaah, dah na na na, daaaah, daaah... do you hear those distant strains of Mendelssohn's wedding march? Don't worry, it's not an aural hallucination-- it's my two year anniversary today, marking seven hundred and thirty crazy wonderful days married to my partner in crime and life, Matthew. We've been together since 2008, and as corny as it may seem, these past two years sharing a last name along with everything else have been two of the very best. Since we said "I do", we've traveled to Paris (twice!) and Oxford, both landed new and better jobs, and spent just about every day trying to keep climbing slowly but surely up that ladder to adulthood. I hope the next year holds a few more milestones in store for us (Baby? Dog? House? Ski-doos? Two of those I'm dead set on, haha), but whatever it brings, I'm glad I've got my bub by my side for the journey. :)

Some of my favorite snaps from two years ago.
Today, I thought I would mark the very special occasion with a series of vintage anniversary cards! I was looking for one to post on Facebook (as is my wont) and came across so many I liked I thought I would turn it into a blog post. Come check 'em out, kids, they're pretty adorable! You can click on any of the hyperlinks to see either the Ebay/Etsy listing or web source from which is was culled (where would we be without the internet?).


I love this card's third wheel, the birthday suit'd cupid, who looks alternately bored and busy through the four panels of this extended-sea-metaphor anniversary card. I also like the inexplicable change of clothing through the course of the narrative-- the sailor mister begins barechested, gains a mariner shirt somewhere along the way, and ends in a more formal collared shirt in the last panel, while the girl keeps a consistently cute red shirt dress on until changing into a long, poufy-sleeved evening gown for the finale. But overall, could this card be cuter? I love the watercolor meets Dick Tracy coloring and illustrations, and the cheeky little cupid would be perfect if someone would only give him some pants. You know what would be neat, would be to have these in the original illustrations of these, which you know have to be out there somewhere. Before seeing examples on Antiques Roadshow and in the movie Loving (George Segal plays a commercial illustrator in 1970), I never thought about how somewhere there's some original art these cards would have to be based on!

Grade: A- (for cherub-related nudity) 

2) Vintage Used Anniversary Greeting Card Birds Bluebirds Silk Ribbon Silver Foil

You should have seen the original version of this post before I culled down the cards to a reasonable number for the post-- there must have been ten cards with bluebirds on them that I'd chosen! I guess with the whole idea of "bluebirds of happiness" and "lovebirds" you're bound to have duplication of ideas (and not to mention, I am bird-biased :) ). At any rate, I'm not always a fan of the verse-card (especially versus the funny-rhyme card), but the birds on this were so beautifully geometric and vibrantly colored, I couldn't help myself. Could they be cuter? Also Matthew has an almost pathological weakness for cutie/sweetie little illustrations, so this reminded me of him.

Grade: A+ for art, C+ for verse.

3) Early 40s Vintage Wedding First Anniversary Greeting Card Couple Paper Insert

It's not our first anniversary, but I about died when I saw this card:

The newspaper comes out for a bonus message! [shrieks with delight]

And then the inside has a sweet sentimental message, two dressed-to-the-nines mid nineteen thirties' people, and adorable typography. This may be my favorite card out of the bunch. It feels like one of those Joan Crawford MGM glamorama pictures in greeting card form, and if that's not something I love, I don't know what is.

Another thing that struck me perusing these cards-- isn't it interesting that a large number of people used to send anniversary cards out? I mean, reading these and others, you might expect to get one of these from your kids, and maybe your friends and extended family? I think nowadays, it's NICE to get a card or some kind of remembrance from your parents (my MIL sent us a Jacquie Lawson e-card this morning, for a 21st century example), but other family members or friends I wouldn't expect to go out of their way to remember the date. It's hard enough to remember YOUR OWN anniversary (which is why I built a song aide-memoire to the occasion for extra help, haha...all I have to do is remember the Earth Wind and Fire lyrics from our first dance!). At any rate, the "Dady Joe + Mother" signature on the newspaper is so sweet I could die.


4) Vintage Greeting Card Anniversary Kitten Cat Good Luck Keepsake

This card appeals to me because it combines voodoo right alongside the cute/kind sentiment of an anniversary card.

JK, it's not really voodoo, but it IS a weird little human-shaped good luck charm made out of beads accompanied by this caption:

The repetition of "Sitting pretty" three times in the text of the card makes me wonder if it's some kind of incantation to ward off/garner evil wishes? And IS the cat wearing a witch's hat? As someone who takes spooky very seriously, I am very into this card.

Grade: S-P-O-O-K-Y +

This one was just cute, what was I supposed to do. Something about 1900's-1940's illustrations seems so strange at the same time as being whimsical, and I like the butcher paper texture on the card colored with such primary colors.

Grade: B+ for cute-i-tude and A+ for dog fashion.

Last but not least:

6) Swell eggs:

Anthropomorphic cards might be MY FAVORITE kind of cards, and I like that this one takes it a step further with such a forties'/fifties' turn of phrase. "You're a swell egg, you know that, kid?" sounds like something Spencer Tracy would say grudgingly to a teenage copy boy in his newspaper office in a 40's movie. Wait til you see the inside:

And it's even for a second anniversary! PERFECTION.

Grade: A for puns and eyelashes on lady egg.

In summation: H-A-P-P-Y A-N-N-I-V-E-R-S-A-R-Y to me and to my cute little mate. Two years down and another sixty some odd to go! <3 p="">
Which one of these is your favorite? I can't choose, like I said, they're ALL amazing. Do you exchange cards/gifts for your anniversary? Does anyone outside of your parents send you cards/remembrances for the same? I'll tell you later in the week about our anniversary trip this past weekend and all the goodies we found in Kentucky...wait 'til you see our loot! :)

Gotta get back to the grind, but have a fabulous Monday-- I'll talk to you soon!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Estate Sale Diary (Weekend Recap)

Good morning!!

Like I said earlier in the week, I'm back to check in with some reportage from the field. What field? The estate sale field, naturally. I realized the other day, talking to a friend, that while there are some crazy out-of-the-ordinary estate sales or Goodwill runs that stick out in my mind by sheer force of weirdness, I've been missing a great opportunity in not keeping some kind of a log of the selfsame. I want to get better about taking pictures and documenting the digging-- I yanked most of these from, but I'll try to be a more diligent shutterbug in the future.

1) Knob Hill, Donelson:

One of my favorite sellers from Gallatin (you can see her shop on the square here) was running a sale in Donelson, and greeted me at the door. "Are you wearing your charm bracelet?" she called out. "YOU KNOW IT," I replied, both of us referring to the sterling silver charm bracelet Matthew had gone up to Sumner County to procure for me. Remind me to tell you more about that and my ensuing obsession with vintage charms in a later post. ;) As nervous as it makes me to run into people I know at the sales (because I have the inborn natural skittishness and self doubt of a feral cat), it kind of also make me happy to see my peeps. In we went.

This house was gor-GEOUS. Five bedrooms and a kitchen like something out of a Franco Zefferelli Shakespeare movie, with a big brick hearth outfitted with grill, cooktop, double oven, and who knows what else all in one gorgeous Tudor package. I was knocked back by visions of hanging garlic and copper bottom pans and whatever else Julia Child would have in her kitchen to make it yet more impressive, too much so to notice the in-wall stereo system (!!) that another estate sale attendee posted on a midcentury Facebook group to which I belong. If it were a snake, it would have bit me. My mom walked up to the house and went, "This is so-and-so so-and-so's house! I've been here!" And sure enough, it was a woman who had worked at the Red Cross with my ma at some point in her long career there. I'm not sure if the homeowner passed away or moved to retirement, but it's weird when that happens! The strangest incidence of that was when my dad and I accidentally went to my great-uncle James's house for an estate sale-- he was still walking around on God's green earth, thankfully, but was selling a friend's estate in a yard sale type set up. Me: Didn't you recognize the address?! Dad: I knew it was the same street, I didn't know it was the same HOUSE. You never know what you're going to come up with in service of searching for other people's household junk, haha.

Can you make out the cook top under the pans? Imagine it had a curved type alcove in which it was situated.
I really wanted this vanity because it reminded me of one Marlene Dietrich had in her house, but I couldn't think of anywhere to put it (and it was dead cheap, too! Dommage). It was in bad shape but in that cool, glamorously down at the heels type way. Look at that elephant! Better believe if that was there or I'd seen it somewhere I would have been mightily tempted.

I also almost bought this faux ostrich skin hat case, but the handle was busted and I wasn't sure how to fix it. Love you, miss you, train case:

I want to look up this house when it hits the market, but I'm sure with five bedrooms in a leafy part of Donelson, it's going to be 400k if it's a day. Keep dreaming, Lisa! Keep those dreams alive.

2) Bellshire:

Parker sales was having a blow out sale in Bellshire-- the people who lived there had owned a five and dime type store, I think they said, evidenced in part by the fact that there were two outbuildings full of vintage toys, the kind you would trade for tickets at the roller rink or arcade. I loved just seeing all these little bits and bobs but it was a little overwhelming in sheer volume, plus the added intrigue of trying to fight your way past resellers taking advantage of the half off day. They were out in FORCE this morning. 

Pan Am and TWA!

Even at half off, I was a little miffed at the dollar-to-four-dollar price tags on a lot of the stuff, though as I showed interest in things, the sales employees would often quote a price that was way lower than even half off-- you'd think I'd be pleased with that, but instead I was more like, "Then WHY is it marked xyz?" I think my #1 thing that the estate sale people can do besides choosing a house with bonkers-crazy-neat-stuff is to clearly display prices and clearly establish discounts-- if things were marked fairly in the first place, half should be plenty to liquidate the remaining items on a three day sale; if you've still got beaucoup de stuff on the third day, you messed up your prices. I may not be a professional estate sale runner, but Lord knows I know the buying side of the business, and it makes your die-hard shoppers like me ticked to not have consistency with pricing. End rant.

These change purses were INSANE. I have no idea why I didn't buy at least one
Besides the prices being a smidge high and all over the board, there was so much STUFF, and most of it not very good/interesting. Not even counting the outbuildings, in the house itself, it seemed every room had an enormous grouping of like items, as if someone had gone "oh, I collect little dolls like that, let's buy one EVERY time I see one." I guess these might have been part of the aforementioned business, but again, there was way too much of everything

That skinny dog was gone, but the pair of dog-with-mailbox pieces was there, and $25...even at $12.50, I thought that was a little high. Which means I guess I didn't want it very badly, haha!

I've omitted like another 10 pictures of grouped figurines, imagine this times 10.

The big deal at this sale was Jadeitegate 2015, which went down in a big way about five minutes after I got to the sale. Whooo, peeeeeeople, hold on to your hats.

The cause of the sturm und drang
I caught this set of Jadeite mixing bowls out of the corner of my eye immediately upon entering the house-- and again, this is maybe 8:40 on the last day of the sale, so the fever pitch of resellers snapping up items at a deal before they've even had a chance to be looked at by us civilians was pretty high. Since seeing Lauren from Apron Strings Vintage build an impressive collection of this type of glassware on her blog and Instagram, I always am on the lookout for a good piece of it at a good price (because I obviously need another collection like I need another hole in my head :p). But they're cute, right? That milky green is so unusual and I know it would look good against my black table top, so it's not a completely impossible/crazy dream. A middle aged woman with a short hair cut was turning the bowls over in her hands, looking for markings, discussing the bowls with her taller, black-t-shirt-tucked-into-jeans husband who stood to the side. Nothing makes someone want something more than knowing someone else wants something, so I monitored the situation for maybe a minute to see if she'd decide against them and set the bowls down, before finally deciding to keep looking in the next room on the off chance that she would be done looking at them/given up on them by the time I came back, or would have bought them one. Nothing was well served by me pretending to look at ashtrays in a stationary position catty corner from hers, so with a shrug of my shoulders, I kept moving.

I could overhear "Do you see 'Fire King' on any of them? I don't know, I just think maybe this one..." from on down the line and my heart sank a little. Then another woman in a work apron came on the scene and dropped the bomb on this lady: "I'm sorry, those are already sold."

Now, what do you do in this kind of situation? Me, I would have colored visibly with embarrassment and disappointment, surrendered the bowls, and been kind of heartsick the rest of the day about how I'd almost got Jadeite bowls at a fraction of the cost if someone hadn't beat me to the punch by the tiniest of margins. Nooooot this lady.

How pretty do these things look altogether?
With the strength of conviction of some self-styled martyr, she dug in her heels but hard. "What do you mean?" The worker started to stammer then something about how someone had already bought the mixing bowls and was just up at the counter paying. "How can they be sold when THEY'RE RIGHT HERE IN MY HAND? THEY'RE RIGHT HERE IN MY HAND!!" the buyer lady spat, loud enough that several fellow shoppers turned in her direction, prairie dog like, at the commotion. "Let me check for you, I mean, they might not have been sold, but I'm pretty sure that little girl who was here earlier bought them," the salesperson said, making fatal error #2. Fatal error #1, either mark the dishes or move them to the sold table, don't leave them in the field of play where someone who is waiting to chew someone else out for no reason might take offense at their presence. Fatal error #2, not standing your ground, thus planting hope in the already ticked off lady's mind as to the possibility that she might be going home with said dishes.

The saleslady returned with the person who had actually bought the dishes, who I couldn't see from where I was, but I could also hear. There was actual flapping of the receipt in the person-trying-to-buy-the-dishes's face by the person-who-had-bought-and-paid-for-said-dishes, which seemed a very adult and mature course of action to me, followed by the would be buyer again loudly exclaiming that she HAD NEVER heard of someone buying something and not taking it with them, how could she have bought the dishes when they're (again) RIGHT HERE IN HER HAND? Suffice to say the items were handed over without bloodshed, but a weird tension fell over the sale both during and after the verbal conflagration. I was like "Aaaaaand I'm ready to go."

What do you think? Shouldn't the lady who bought them have carried them with her or marked  them sold? Shouldn't the other lady have just gracefully admitted defeat? What would you have done?

Sorry, even glassware this pretty isn't worth getting in a bar fight over.
 Last insult to injury, I was on my way to the car when I saw this:

This conversation ensued:
Me to my dad: Oh, cool! Look they still have that old computer. I wonder if that's something I could get Matthew for his anniversary present. Go look how much it is.
Dad: Well...[looks at price tag, makes face]
Me: It's like $500, isn't it.
Dad: Close!
Me: [inspects price tag] FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?
Dad: It's only half of that today, so that's $225!
Me: I am not paying two hundred dollars for that.
Dad: They were like three thousand dollars back in the day. I remember there was a tv commercial with Bill Bixby in it where he showed you all the things you could do with could type....and I guess add stuff....
Me: [a "Nancy" comic strip caricature of Nancy in a bad mood]

FORGET THIS SALE. #booooooooooooo

Michael Taylor warehouse:

I mainly went to the Michael Taylor sale to see if they still had this:

They didn't. And this:

They did but it was $450 with 40% off. You do the math, I can't see through my tears here to do the necessary figuring.

This I was mightily tempted to get IN SPITE of its $40 after discount price tag. It's a 1930's/1940's circus wagon toy, with about the most charming illustrated lions you're likely to see any time soon:

Best part? When the wheels roll, they have some kind of thing rigged up to where it makes a sound like a calliope or a pretty set of chimes. DID I NOT SAY CHARMING?

Epilogue (and a Navy Suit):

We went to one last sale where I didn't take any pictures or save any pictures from the website-- BLVD estate sales has a commercial space right around the corner from MT, so I thought "Ah, why not." There wasn't much of interest, but as I was leaving, I almost knocked something off a wall where it was hanging (because I bear the grace and carriage of Dovima, obviously, in my day to day dealings), and when I picked it up, it ended up being the only thing I bought at all the sales! This WWII Naval Officer's uniform was $48 with 75% off, so I snapped it up, along with a picture of the group on their ship the USS Alaska, for $14 total. What am I going to do with it? WHO KNOWS, I wanted it. Here's a picture of the goods:

I need a haircut. Or some curlers. SOMETHING. Also note Marc Creates piece from post before last sulking against the wall, unhung. Shame!

Impressive, right?!
The pants and jacket are VERY skinny, but I like having the complete set, and for less than fifteen bucks!

I gotta get back to the grind, but do tell me what you got into this last weekend! Any great finds? Any near catfights? Any weird houses? I'd love to hear all about it. :)

Have a great Friday, and I'll talk to you next week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rerun: Cheap Chic Does Vintage Shopping (1975): NEW EDITION 2015

Good afternoon, folks!

I have a report back from the estate sales that were cooking up for you later in the week, but I wanted to jump in and tell you about a book the kind people at Three Rivers Press sent me the other day. Folks, CHEAP CHIC IS BACK IN PRINT after forty years!

It's not a usual occurrence here at my blog to accept promotional material from the wide world ...not because I stand on principle or anything about receiving free stuff (I hope I never get that la-di-da), but because really, how am I going to convincingly write about how dental strips or prescription eyeglasses I don't want or instant tea has changed my life when I have all this other, actually-interesting-to-my-life stuff to show you. And as I'm not a fashion blogger, I don't get offers for the cute stuff at all (if someone wants to write a book about how to get free crinolines and vintage brooches and circle skirts, I would be happy to read that book and absorb its lessons). So as you can imagine, when I saw the words "Cheap Chic Reissue" show up in a subject heading on my email, you could have knocked me over with a feather. "Cheap Chic by Caterine Millinaire?" I thought to myself with guarded excitement. Someone in their PR department had seen a blog I did on the book waaaay back in 2012 (can you believe it's been that long? I can remember writing it!) and contacted me about putting out the good word about the new edition, published earlier this month. Would I like a copy of the book and would I mind doing a blog post about said book, etc, etc.

Ola Hudson: costume designer, intimate of David Bowie, SLASH'S MOM, and just one of the many famous seventies' fashionistas in the book!
Well, heck yes I would like to have a copy of the book! And you should too-- it's a facisimile copy of the 1975 vintage fashion bible I talk about in the post below. The only reason I did not already own a copy of the book owed to its staggering used price...this updated copy from the 80s, for example, still runs $60 at best. And if you think I was kidding, even my-real-dad Tim Gunn mentions in his new forward to the book how he wishes he'd bought a copy when it was originally published for $5.95 instead of the many-times-more-than-that price he paid for it on Ebay later. You lucky little ducks, though, can get your mitts on this book for $16. It's chockful of photos and style tips from incredible 1970's people wearing even more incredible 1900's-1960's clothes...a time capsule of the beginning of vintage fashion wearing as we know it. I was so worried I wouldn't be able to borrow the book from Interlibrary loan again that I took photos of practically every page at the time, a few of which are used in the post below-- happily for me, however, I now have a copy of this vintage fashion bible sitting in a place of pride on my shelf, to revisit and commit to memory at my leisure! So thank you Three Rivers Press for my copy, and if you're out there reading in cyberland, check out the website for the book to grab yourself a copy here, I think you'll be glad you did.
They took the words right out of my mouth!
And without further adieu, an amuse-bouche of the blog post I did on the book, to revisit while perusing my new copy. I still feel the same about all of these outfits! :D

Talk to you soon!

This post originally appeared on She Was a Bird December 11, 2012.

Good morning!

I once again prevailed upon the better nature of Interlibrary Loan to get into my glad hands a copy of Cheap Chic, a 1975 vintage style guide by Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy, and gee oh gee, is it a lot of fun! And outrageously expensive on Amazon (yeeks!). The book covers everything from wardrobe basics to style advice from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Diana Vreeland themselves-- it's like desk reference for understanding the pulse of eccentric and/or stylish dresser of the mid-seventies'. Which chapter did I flip to first? The vintage clothes buying section, obviously. There's some hits and some clunkers, and lucky for you, I scanned in the best of them!

First off, how. CUTE. IS. THIS. GAL. See her Garbo-heavy-lidded-makeup? Her candy box of a Victorian hat? Her black gloves and fur stole? Like, like, and like.

I didn't know what to expect from this chapter as most of the preceding fifty pages was dead set on me spending a hundred 1975 dollars ($412.25 in 2011!!) on European boots, citing as "The money you save on cabs and buses will pay for the next pair!". 1975 Cheap Chic, I am not a Gothamite, nor do I have four hundred dollars to shell out on boots, even IF I "put away $5 [2011: $20] a week" until I can afford them. Get real (though now I'm kind of daydreaming about the perfect pair of YSL boots...which are around $1,000 these days, FYI). But, as this chapter opens, the authors remind us "everyone is discovering it feels good to wear expensive clothes, especially when someone else paid for them the first time out". Ain't it the truth!

The above picture, and this jazzy secondhand store snap, made me think, aw! Yes! This is going to be neat! Then I ran into Paul Ruscha. Awww, maaaaan:

Paul....Ruscha. Oh, Paul, Paul, Paul Ruscha. What in the name of decency is happening here. I would be upset enough if it was just that you own a full-length monkey fur coat which you chose to wear with mylar contacts (?) and a hair/mustache combination that might send a shudder of dread through even the most hirsute Doobie Brother. But no! You've also invented the "pant leg snood" (bottom left), and don't think it escaped my notice that it's pinned with a freakin' 1940's figural arrow brooch feet)). I guess "some style" is better than "no style", but I just feel like these outfits are plain perversions of real chic! You have all the elements to use in a first-rate wardrobe, but  you chose to use them for evil instead of good! I forgive you, though, as this 2005 gallery snap of you at one of your exhibitions is in front of a whole wall of Kennedy-iana, and you look like a better looking version of a fifty year old Bee Gee. The seventies' were a weird time.

I wish they'd included a photo of Lesley instead. Listen to the description!

Don Loper at GOODWILL?! And I.Magnin at a THRIFT SHOP. You all are killin' me with this mess. Now, $2 is more like $8 in now money, but OH MY GOD THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME FEEL ANY BETTER.

 Susan Doukas breaks the rule about "only buy[ing] things that fit perfectly" because it's supposedly tricky to tailor vintage clothes by buying something that fits imperfectly and successfully having it tailored down to size.  This book is full of contradictions. Can you believe the beautiful lapels and pocket details on that jacket? "You can do really well if you have a little taste and not much money, especially if you look for beautiful things with a sense of humor," Doukas says, and she took the words right out of my mouth! The described closet collection of Lauren Bacall esque gowns mixed with bowling and service uniform shirts is giving me an envy headache.

There's a whole story about her apartment and her longtime lover in a 2011 NYT profile of rooftop 65, she still sounds like a pip!

Tasha at By Gum, By Golly! just did a post on her unbelievably cute reindeer sweater... the one below, left, looks just like the one in the vintage Canada travel ad she compared hers to in the same entry. PLUS Valentina's day job is as a "production assistant and receptionist" on the Cher show. ON THE CHER SHOW. Life is unfair to me, at all times. While Ingrid Boulting looks more fresh-scrubbed than mysterious on the right, check out the amazing photos I found of her modeling career on this blog. Shades of Delphine Seyrig (one of my highest compliments for blonde European women of the 1970's). Just think of finding a jacket like this at Goodwill! I know it can still happen (mainly because I believe in it, right? And think of the crazy things you've found from time to time, I tell myself consolingly), but for example, a much less cute version is on Etsy right now for $300. AND SOMEONE WILL BUY IT. Ugh. Bid time return.

I never understand the seventies' with regard to vintage clothes for men. Seriously. It's not that hard. And yet somehow, everyone ends up looking like a less chic version of Bryan Ferry on a bad day. What is happening with the guy on the left? Don't even get me started about the guy on the right! And the man at bottom center...are you trying out for a Dead or Alive cover band. WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE. Again, I seriously advocate the "fun" of dress up and wearing crazy outfits (look at me), but there just have to be some rules to keep you from looking like you've escaped either an asylum or a dinner theater production.

Now this, I not-so-secretly love. Polka dots on a shawl collared tuxedo, front curl in the middle of the forehead, paint splattered shoes, huge (topless?! I now notice?!?) deco painting in the background...Duggie Fields is doin' all right. He's still rockin' the curl, too, almost forty years later! There's a great article on his paintings and personal style here. This is a case of "it's a lot, but it actually looks like it's something he's chosen to wear, rather than a lost bet".

What do you think about some of these out-there seventies' vintage looks? What's the most jealousy-inducing story you've heard of hidden vintage treasure unearthed for pennies? Had you heard of any of these eccentric dressers before? I hadn't. Let's chat!

Have a great Tuesday, and I'll see you tomorrow!


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