Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pepsi-Cola's The Sociables (1959-1960)

Good morning!! 

While I think I've mentioned to you several times my undying fealty to the Coca-Cola corporation, I have to say, Pepsi-Cola gives Coke a run for its money in late 1950's advertisements. I've referenced Pepsi's early to mid fifties' advertisements in this blog, rending my garments with sheer envy of the women in those wasp waisted, clinging ensembles and their chic bouffants. In that advertising campaign, Pepsi tried to convince you that their products were lower in calories than other sodas. In these 1959-1960 illustrated spots, Pepsi wants you to know that their superior cola drink can catapult you to new heights of popularity!

Ah, the Sociables. Who wouldn't want to be counted among Pepsi's gilded few who throw house parties where people sit around on velvet cushions, admiring the exposed beams in your Eames-filled canyon getaway? I love the blonde homeowner, above, whose ensemble consists of a vibrant paisley print shirt fabric-matched to her shoes, cigarette pants, love beads, AND a dramatic waist sash. Because why not! As always with these midcentury illustrations, I admire the level of detail that has gone into the actual artwork. The Eva Saint Marie lookalike at stage right has coral pink nails to match her lipstick. The table with the projector on it in the center has tiny slides scattered around, waiting to be placed in the carousel. You can see a hint of a staircase and a doorway to the kitchen in the far background. I think advertising really lost something in the sixties' and seventies' when photography, for the most part, replaced these intricate splashes of "a more ideal" version of real life.

Poolside, a man who could have stepped out of an American Apparel ad from last week (white framed sunglasses, striped navy and red maillot) partakes of a proffered cigarette from the girl in the sash. AGAIN with the sash. Maybe that was thing in 1959? Note the poolside bar cart being used for what God intended, mobile food and beverage service. I see so many of these type entertaining tools moored to a single place in interior design spreads, when wasn't the entire point of having a service cart to be able to serve from it? I'm no less guilty, as my bar cart is a non-moving display center for bottles of wine, my penguin ice bucket (which, omfg, by the way, they're selling for $89.00 on Urban Outfitters...I have two, neither of which was more than $6 at an estate sale!), and various pretty glasses, but at least when people come over I do actually serve drinks from it. Also, I want a pool and a tent like that. Or at least to belong to a community club with both. ARE wishes like fishes?

Whew, LAWD. These people are killing me with this low-slung, rattan table and the wire ice cream parlor stule chair. Not to mention that woman's taupe dress collared and cuffed in mink-or-similar! Be still my beating heart. I'm trying to figure out if this is at some kind of restaurant? A flower show in the self same? Where are they that men are bringing orchids over for her perusal? You tell me.

Do you think this is host and hostess, in the foreground of this illustration? Because if it is, think about coordinating your outfits to provide the maximum chance of triggering a seizure in your more visually susceptible guests? I LOVE IT. Plaid and op-art stripes, sign me up a hundred percent. I also hadn't thought much about the idea of putting glass bottles of Coke or Pepsi in an ice bucket, champagne style, but doesn't that lend an odd elegance to the table setting?

Another beach scene, but notable for the fact that Bob Peak did the art for this spread. Who's Bob Peak, you may ask? Fellow vintage-o-philes might remember his artwork for the program/book of the movie version of My Fair Lady, and a number of movie posters, with titles ranging from Every Which Way But Loose to Star Trek V. He's one of those staggeringly prolific and talented commercial artists from the time period. You can see more of his work here and here.

This one isn't signed Peak, but doesn't it look similar? All that lush color and dark pen lines. I love that the woman is holding her program so you can tell exactly what's going on (unlike the mysterious orchid scenario above)...she's at a Benefit Fashion Show! Is it wrong that I like the woman's dress more than the ones parading down the catwalk?

Last but not least, you know I had to throw this wedding themed Sociable ad in. I love that the copy says something like "The Sociables" hear wedding bells...! If you want to be popular, attend fashion shows, have strange men parade flowers in front of you, OR be innundated with marriage proposals, sister, you better drink Pepsi. I'm only telling you that because I'm your friend. How do you like the "Officer and a Gentleman" style uniform on the groom! Or the two women in identical poufed out pastel tafetta, sporting those pretty little bow-head pieces that were so popular around the last fifties'/early sixties' for formal wear! I die. So pretty!

Anyway, what do you think about these Sociables? Have you seen any mid century illustrations or adwork that really knocked your socks off lately? Let's talk!

That's all for Wednesday (folks, we're halfway through the week!). Have a fantastic "hump" day and I'll see you on the downhill slide to the weekend! Til then.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jackie Kennedy Double Vision! (1961)

Good morning!

I was flipping through Life magazine yesterday looking for more vintage clip art for the wedding website, when my attention was arrested by this...curious...image:

Sir! Unhand our First Family! What are you doing?!

The caption reassured me that the workmen in paint spattered clothes, cigarette dangling insouciantly from the left one's mouth, were actually totally in the clear-- they're installing these mannequins (phew!) in a display (double phew!) for a department store window. This issue and the window dressing displayed in it coincided with the January 1961 inaguration of John F. Kennedy as our nation's 35th president. Months earlier, from the time of the Wisconsin primary, matrons and collegiate girls alike had started to warm to the elegant simplicity of the future first lady's style. The former Jacqueline Bouvier, doe-eyed, pill-box-hatted, bouffant haired, was the living definition of effortless chic, and apparently, lookalikes began to crop up all over the nation over which her husband held dominion!

Here are some sketches by designer-to-the-stars Oleg Cassini (who romanced Grace Kelly and married Gene Tierney, dressing both women and Jackie to boot!):

Swoooooon...however au courant this was in 1961, each Cassini design STILL looks like "good taste" itself in year of our Lord 2013. I think the coat on the left is my favorite, and visions of the easter-egg pastels and the silks and wools of the finished product are dancing like sugarplums through my head right now. Compared to the grown-up little girl fussiness of former first lady Mamie Eisenhower's wardrobe (see her Barbie princess inagural gown here...the dress I love, but wasn't it a little too young for her?), what a chic and modern breath of fresh air Jackie's clothes must have been. I told you last week I have EXACTLY the wrong shape of body for the sheath dresses and up-and-down skirt suits of quintessential Jackie-style, but LEMME AT some of those A-line numbers. I'll make you proud, JBK!

Above, a quartet of fashion models who found themselves in high demand due to their resemblance to Mrs. Kennedy. I remember an article in a 70's issue of Esquire, in their annual "Dubious Achievements" awards issue, that harped again and again about how far apart her eyes are atop those famous wide cheekbones. Do you know it had never occurred to me before! One of the first things I noticed about Matthew is how he shares a similar facial structure to the first lady, impishly handsome with far-apart hazel eyes (*). Isn't it funny to think these brown haired, brown-eyed beauties with slightly irregular features and boyish, slim hipped figures would have probably been overlooked for the more bombshell Marilyn or Kim Novak type just a few years earlier? Slim was always in, but the idiosyncratic looks of  the First Lady no doubt sent ripples through the fashion world. Doll like Dovima, redhead Suzy Parker and wispy blonde Lisa Fonssagrives move over! There's a new brunette in town! 

Here's a couple pretenders-to-the-throne...notice the different ways they interpret "Jackie style":

One of my favorite parts of the article had to do with recreating the Jackie look on a budget. Check out how these two girls manage to put together Jackie-esque ensembles on even a limited budget!

I thought this was a really good deal until I inflation calculated $68.68...that's $519.96 in 2012 money! Thinking of how classic both the coat and the suit are, and how you could mix and match the pieces with different blouses or different skirts, however, I guess you could get a little more mileage out of this than an one-off outfit.

More Jackie acolytes, including two high school girls (!!) at right:

So! What do you think of the Jackie-lookalike mania? Have you ever had a burning desire to copy a celebrity or famous figure's look head-to-toe? What was your success (or failure) like? Let's talk!You can read the whole article here.

Have a great Tuesday! See you back here tomorrow. Til then!

* I mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again....NOTE THE RESEMBLANCE. Maybe we'll have Jackie Kennedy looking kids one day!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wedding Website/Invites are Go!

Good morning!

The weekend is over. And I am sad to see it go! I finished season 3 of Game of Thrones and fleetingly made it to the flea market, but a lot of my favorite vendors were absent (what gives??). After all the crazy spoils I've been making at off-the-radar estate sales, though, I really shouldn't complain. On Friday, we met with Katie-the-caterer, and oh my GOODNESS the food she prepared for our first menu tasting. It's 80% vegan, and 110% awesome. I still have 8,000,000 things left to do, but my friend Kelsey is keeping me sane and grounded in spite of a couple planning snafus (cue me cussing right down to my socks about the sudden unavailability of the eshakti dress that was going to look beautiful on all three of my girls...we will persevere, however!).

What's good to keep in mind? Some things are already done!

First, the final invitation!

I hate to blow my own horn so emphatically--and yet, I just L-O-V-E the way this turned out in the end. I did some handwringing over whether or not it was too cluttered, but I think the finished product is so "me". We've got some ochre yellow envelopes, all already addressed in this chicken scrawl I call "print legible", awaiting postage on the return cards and the invites themselves so that they can be stuffed and sent off to their respective recipients.

Second, some screen shots from the wedding website:

I tried AS HARD AS I COULD to find a website host that was a) free (sorry folks, I am not paying any amount of money more than I already have to for this to-do), and b) as little pre-styled as possible. Do you know what I mean about a lot of free websites having this built-in, this-is-your-wedding style? After having as much freedom as I've had designing this blog, I felt very constrained by ugly black-and-white-brocade or rust-colored or deep purple dominated websites. What I ended up with was the LEAST. DESIGNED. website template on Wedding Wire, and I tried to spruce it up as much as the site would allow with my own photos and collages.

I think the "About Me" section might be my favorite. I've never tried my hand at writing little biographical sketches, so it was all kinds of fun to describe Matthew and me "in a formal setting".

Act like I did not also take advantage of the "photo album" tab to add even more photos of us. That shot of me and Matthew and Slimer might be my favorite of the bunch.

I am still completely baffled by what to put on my registry. We need NOTHING. We need NOT ONE THING more in our house! I put a rice cooker and a coffeemaker and some nice towels on the site, along with a hopeful entry for a New Yorker subscription and some cookbooks, but I'm totally drawing a blank on what else I need. Can YOU think of anything that's a "must-do" on a wedding registry? What will I regret not putting on it when the dust settles?

When I voiced the concern "What if no one comments on the website?" back when I was initially building it in May, Sus surprised me with this totally kind message. Now I don't even care if there are more comments! This is the best one!

I have to get back to work (and by work, I mean maniacally paging through bridesmaids dress candidates hither and yon on the internet), but I'd love any advice you might have on a) where to buy ochre yellow bridesmaids dresses b) what to put on a registry c) any other final-hour wedding planning tips you might be able to shoot my way!

Have a fabulous Monday (or at least a less frazzled one than mine!) and I'll see you tomorrow! Til then.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Photo Friday: Around the House in 1984 Edition

Good morning!

Well, people, we made it to Friday! The weekend is SO. CLOSE. While going through the jump drive with all our family photos on it, in the interest of choosing some snaps from the over four thousand pictures my dear old dad has digitized, I came across some I had never seen before of the house I live in!

My parents were married in 1982, and bought the house I currently rent from them in 1984. The proud first time home owners apparently took a copious amount of photos of the interior. When I kidded my mom about it, she insisted they were "for insurance purposes". I still think it was because they were so pleased with their first real home. And I would have been, too!

Check out this sweet sound system my dad had set up in the living room! Turntable, tuner, cassette deck...big old speakers. Do you see the Atari under the tv with its games nearly stacked?

This is in my dad's office, which is now my office! I remember being fascinated with his little model planes and tanks when I was little. Look at all those books-- now you know where I get the hoarding collecting from.

Does this dining table and chairs set look familiar? It's STILL the perfect size for this kitchenette eating area.

My parents painted these knotty pine kitchen cabinets in the early nineties', and honestly, I think it was for the best. You know I am knotty pine lover to the core, but the combination of the dark stain on these panels with the already "intimate" size of the room makes the kitchen seem even smaller. Please note my mom's enormous collection of frog-related ceramics. She once told me, when I asked about why there were so many frog collectibles in boxes in the attic, that she had once, once stated that she thought frogs were cute. Next thing you know, ten years worth of birthdays and Christmases were commemorated with the amphibian's likeness. It reminded me of the Brad Neely cartoon where one of the Professor Brothers' girlfriends said she liked pie ONE TIME and suddenly every present she ever gets forever is pie-themed.

The same bed in the same place in the back bedroom! It still works really well in the space, except there's an air conditioning vent where the nightstand is (that's about where the Silvertone from Monday's post is now!). My parents put in air conditioning around 1989 (THANK. THE GOOD. LORD) and we took up the carpet shortly after I moved back in 2007. Look at the little bunny figurines on the night stand!

Last but not least, a picture of me from a little later on down the line, but at the front door of the same house. Check out my sweet licensed Batman t-shirt (which I assume has shorts under it) and pins. I had a Batman cake that same year, I think! I was totally bananas for the old Adam West tv show which was in reruns on Nickelodeon at the time. It's so weird to see myself in rooms I currently inhabit, but as a little gal!

Do you have any of the same furniture in your house that was in your house growing up? Have you or your family ever kept a house multi-generationally "in the family"? Let's talk!

That's all for this week, but I'll see you guys back here on Monday. Have a fabulous weekend! Check you then! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Invitations and RSVPs are Done! (Of Course There's a Story)

Good morning!!

Man alive. What a freakin' Wednesday evening I had. As I've mentioned before, we're in full wedding lockdown back at the ranch...I spent a lot of yesterday tweaking the wedding website so it would be ready for public consumption when I send out my invitations a week or two from now, happily checking this item off my mile long to-do list. It dawned on me, as I was resizing vintage clips of Pyrex and dewy-eyed brides from the fifties', that I had put the cart before the horse-- kid, you're gonna have to have invitations to send out before you have a website to which the invitations direct guests. Well! Bust my buttons! So it was! I took a long last look at the invites I showed you guys a couple weeks ago, added some information (uh, I forgot to put what time the ceremony was on the original draft? Because I'm smart, that's why), jump-drive-ified the whole thing, and made plans to head out to the Fed Ex Office in Rivergate, conveniently located next door to my favorite sushi restaurant. Midway through a plate of vegetarian rolls, I was too anxious with excitement to finish-- let's go get this done right now!

A dramatic recreation of what I looked like leaving the store,
except with less cuss words.
Backstory: I'd been to the same Fed Ex Office location earlier this year to have our Save the Dates printed out. A girl about my age moved the files from my flash drive to a PDF document, set the images up properly for printing, printed the postcards four to a page, and used their professional slice-and-dice machine to hand me a finished product of 50 3''x5'' double sided printouts, one side color, one side black and white. The cost of this undertaking was around $35, but I was so pleased with the outcome and the turnaround time that I didn't even think about this being a tad high for what I got. From the time I walked in the door until the time I left with save the dates in hand? Maybe 10 minutes. And she was very nice! I vowed to come back and do my invites and RSVPs at the same place.

Remember my Save the Dates? I love them. And having THOSE printed was a cinch!
When I rambled over from the sushi restaurant last night, almost the same task took forty minutes. I know, you're going...Lisa, forty minutes isn't that bad! Come on, to print the whole thing and have it in your hot little hands the same day? That was the problem, took forty minutes TO MOVE THE ITEMS TO THE COMPUTER, and nothing else. A different Fed Ex employee handled the transaction, and was all about telling me that I could come get a "proof" of the item the next evening at 6, and then they could possibly have the whole thing done maybe that night, or maybe the next day. 
She: It just depends on how quickly you need the items.
Me: I'd like to have a proof or some kind of idea of what it will look like before we do the whole fifty items.
She: Well, yes, but we wouldn't be able to do a proof until the whole print job was set up.
Me: Which would be when?
She: Tomorrow at six. Unless you could come in maybe before work and look at the proof, and then you could come back and pick up your items in the evening.
Me: I don't understand, how long does it take to move the files over to pdf so you can print them?
She: Well, we have to size them so they're the size of the print job like you wanted. And we wouldn't be able to do that until we were ready to print the entire run. You see what I'm saying?
Me: So there's no way I can have even a print out of what it will look like any time today.
She: No, it would have to be tomorrow.
I don't know a lot about working in a copy shop, so I don't know how many orders she had yet to do that night, or how many people were in front of me in terms of getting their print jobs, but....what I DO KNOW is exactly how long, and how non-arduous, the process of doing this exact job was based on my experience with the first Fed Ex employee. From start to finish, the job should have taken about 10 minutes...this woman was quoting me at 24 hours turn around! AFTER standing there in the store for forty minutes, with no consideration/break on the price. My time was not of the least concern to Fed Ex Office or its employees. Oh, oh, and price? $95.63. ALMOST ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Including a $20 fee for moving each of the four images, $5/per image, to the computer.

Like the Dave Chapelle sketch "Pop Copy", except almost worse.
I understand why these "rules" are in place for how and when a print job is completed. I understand the extra fee, to make sure someone doesn't come in with 100 pages they need scanned and resized and whatever else. What I don't understand is the employee's insistence that nothing could be done today. My friend, you should have told me that from the very first, BEFORE I spent forty minutes literally standing at a counter watching you gamely complain about the computer's slowness, then, at a molasses like speed, toy with this that and the other minor jobs, and give me some weird doublespeak about for what reason, on God's green earth, a ten minute task had already taken forty, and was nowhere near completion!

Polite but fuming, I left with a "claim check" to see about the proof the next day, and drove across the street to the Office Depot, which had a banner out front touting its "full service copy services" inside. There, inside thirty minutes, including the time I waited for them to help a husband and wife print out baby shower invitations for their soon to be first born, my invitations and rsvps were printed, cut out, and shrink wrapped. Cost? Well, you look and see:

OH MY GOD IT'S HALF. IT'S LESS THAN HALF WHAT IT WAS GOING TO BE AT FED EX. You've got to be kidding me. And that's not to get anything different than what I was going to get at Fed Ex. NOTHING DIFFERENT. As I was still pretty steamed, I had Matthew call and cancel out $95 order at the store across the street. And I'm totally satisfied with the outcome, MINUS the almost hour of my life I spent at Fed Ex getting lied to. Attempted bamboozlement should be a crime!

My question for you guys today: what do you do in this kind of situation? Are you a stomp-and-screamer, or do you stand by consumed by impotent rage as I did, watching your valuable time tick away as someone else is emphatically not doing their job? Have you had an experiences like this where the gulf in price makes you a little uneasy thinking of what else you might be overpaying for out of ignorance? Would you call the customer service line at Fed Ex and let them know your prime mission in life today is to tell every Tom, Dick, and Harry you know how freakin' awful your customer experience was?

I'm through fumin'...I promise to show you the finished (and quite nice!) invitation packet sometime next week or the week after, before I get these puppies in the mail! Hope you're having a great Thursday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Photo Friday. Til then!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Library Displays (My Library > Your Library)

Good morning!

As I was walking through the lobby the other day, I realized I'd seen not one but TWO pretty noteworthy exhibits downstairs that you might have missed if it's been awhile since you've visited your Nashville Public Library's main branch. If you're an out of state reader, you must put our library on your list of downtown attractions to see if you ever visit sunny Tennessee! There was an all-call email a couple months ago from the Popular Materials department on the first floor asking for "tabletop record players in working or non working condition". I thought "Oooh, wonder why," at the time, and waited to see what the creative types were cooking up down there. Well, here's your answer, folks, and it is too cool for school:

Three displays in the Main lobby follow three different eras of music on vinyl! ShutchaMOUTH, I was so impressed with how neat these are. The one above consists of materials on loan from Third Man Records, Jack White's record label and brick-and-mortar record shop in town. Why do I always forget that people buy things NEW on vinyl as well as old? Inside the lucite, you can see his solo release Blunderbuss and some other records from the label, as well as that RED HOT turntable. Sidenote: Did you know they have "Make Your Own Record" machine at Third Man? One of those booths like the ones in the movies where WWII soldiers would record an audio message, which was taken down on a thin little vinyl disc, and could be mailed home to the ones that were lonesome for the GI's voice back home. This article says it's the only one in operation and open to the public left in the United States..."impressed" is an understatement to how I feel about that. I want to see how it works!

I'm going in reverse chronological order because that's how I posted it for some reason....this is a display of guess seventies' and eighties' records. You've got Michael Jackson's easily recognizable Thriller, the soundtrack to Star Wars and Flashdance, but also Talking Heads' Remain in Light (one of my top 20 favorite albums of all time), De La Soul's debut 3 Feet High and Rising, a Dolly Parton hits compilation (which comes with a fold out poster of the singer...I know because I have this record!), and Emmylou Harris's Roses in the Snow. Random? A little, but I still got a kick out of seeing these things in a display case. Isn't it funny how placing anything under glass or plexiglass immediately makes it look like something either historical or of value? You could put your lunch under one of these cases and suddenly it would seem like "art". I need to get some of these for my house, obviously. I'm now wondering which member of the staff loaned this turntable out because it is AMAZING.

Last but not least in the set of vinyl displays, the fifties' and sixties'. There's a Bo Diddley record in the upper right hand corner, I can't remember which one, and Miles Davis and Dylan and the Beatles, but the album that really caught my eye in this display was the Sam and Dave release Hold On, I'm Comin at bottom left. Whose bright marketing idea was it to put one of the COOLEST soul recordings to come out of Stax Records (and that's saying something, the Stax stable was insane back in those days) out with a picture of the singing duo astride a cartoon turtle? Hm? It seems insane. If I were Sam or Dave, I'd be like...could we get something a little more...I don't know...slick looking? Less like H.R. Pufnstuf?

This is just wrong, people.

In the actual Popular Material department, there are a number of displays on the shelves leading up to the desk, but this one was the best for obvious reasons. And one of those reasons is "OMFG, IT'S A TWIN PEAKS DISPLAY":

I take it the QR codes might take you to clips from the show that explain the quotes? I don't have a Smartphone to test this theory, but hats off to Pop Mat for having a technology-interactive display made with just a printer, some standup sign displays, and a great deal of ingenuity. Do you see all the red room tiles that are empty? This makes the ones with the characters from the show look even creepier! This display is second to the display a couple months ago that reminded me David Bowie's new album, The Next Day, could be legally downloaded in its entirety (five songs at a time) from our library's free mp3 download system, Freegal....but that's a close second. Aaaah, the quotes!

On the ledge next to the display are these tiny flyers, which may be the pi├Ęce de resistance of the whole thing.

Check it out in close up:

The Facebook page on the flyer leads you to an almost 20,000 strong fan page supporting the resurrection of one of the best tv shows....of all time? You can sign the petition from that group to return the surreal Pacific Northwest town and its eccentric (to say the least) denizens to twenty-first century airwaves here. There was a lot of speculation earlier this year as to whether or not David Lynch and Mark Frost were toying with the idea of a third season after twenty-two years off the air, but when I googled "Twin Peaks coming back", all I found were pretty staunch denials of any such intentions from Lynch's daughter Jennifer and Frost himself. Live in hope, right? Still! What a display!

Have you visited your local library? Anything neat going on to grab the patrons' attention for summer and summer reading? What kind of display would you put up in your library if you could actually choose ANY topic? Let's talk!

Speaking of libraries, I have to get back to work! But I'll catch you guys tomorrow with more vintage hits and misses. Til then!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Real Talk: Vintage Clothes/Accessories I Won't Buy (Yes, They Exist!)

Good morning!

As I was flipping through an scanned copy of Sixty years of fashion: 1900-1960, the evolution of women's styles in America, I was struck by the thought that I've reached a point in my vintage wearing/collecting career where there are items which I actually stop myself from buying due to unsuitability for my wardrobe. This has not always been the case! I know, you're going-- "Lisa, you bought a dashiki and seventies' prom maxi dress and a button up shirt that would offend Paul Lynde for its loudness last time you were in full Goodwill lie like a rug!" but it's true! There are actually some things I look at and might ooh or aw towards, but do not buy. While they're exceptions to every rule (see the dress on my mannequin in yesterday's post, which is embellished with feathers and made for someone about a buck oh five and five foot nothing, but I HAD TO HAVE IT), here are some things you might not have known that I might not buy, haha!

Things on my vintage embargo list, as illustrated by excerpts from the aforementioned book:

1) Cloche or fitted hats

It has taken me almost twenty eight years to finally come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to wear about 80% of the vintage hats that exist on planet earth. Maybe, unseen by telescopic satellite, there's a tribe of six foot tall, watermelon-headed Venutians our scientists have yet to discover, all wearing the latest Jean Patou caps from 1939, but by Godfrey, lonely old oversized me here on terra firma cannot smash/crush/pin the better part of hats to my head in such a way that doesn't evoke comparisons to the fat-guy-in-a-little-coat. I know I need somewhere to keep all these brains, but it's frustrating to pat hat after hat down on my head in a hopeful, but essentially useless, gesture of faith. So, unless it's a tiny tilted cap like the 1931 model in the lower right hand corner, or a wide brimmed type that can sit high on the head, I don't even look at the kind of cloche or fitted hats at estate sales anymore (and don't even get me STARTED on vintage shoes!).

2) Animal fur with heads-still-attached

I think we talked about this in an earlier blog-- while I have no compunctions whatsoever about digging around in some recently deceased person's attic for thirties' chinaware or old movie star magazines, like it was nothing, humming a happy tune among the exoskeletons of spiders and dust older than I am... if my delicate, over-sized hands touch fur, it had better not have its ever-loving head still attached to it. Because I will FREAK. OUT. I tried to try on a gorgeous, and I mean GORGEOUS, Marlene Dietrich style grey fox fur at a Southern Sisters sale once, that I think was priced around $30. "I could easily seduce Gary Cooper with these foxes to pave the way! Glamour ITSELF!" My little cinephile's heart cried out for it. However, as the glass eyes of the formerly-living-animal caught mine, I had a shudder of revulsion that was so foreign to me it took me a minute to figure out from whence it had came. Was it primal fear of what had once been a dangerous animal up close? Was it grossed-out-ed-ness at the thought of some dead fox lying around all Hannibal Lecterized in the name of fashion? No, it was probably the fact that I realized, simultaneously, that the catch for the stole was ONE OF THE DAMN THINGS PAWS. With a little clip inserted on what would have been its palm. Yuck! A thousand times yuck!

Fur trim? Fine. Fur stole? Extra good. Fur stole with head-- NO. NO. NO. NO.

3) Fitted skirt, loose top (versus fitted top, a-line skirt)

This problem has plagued me since high school! I remember vividly the makeshift, particle board dressing rooms at the Salvation Army on Gallatin Road (a former HG Hills I think, it's now Young's Fashion, see here) and the teenage anguish of trying to fit my dramatically pear shaped body into innumerable Jackie-O style sixties' suits. Imagine a pale green boucle suit like what Tippi Hedren wore in The Birds. The top is gapingly big and a little too short, considering the overall length, and the skirt IMPOSSIBLY small. On the aformentioned 5'', 100 lb person, this would cute because of the way the oversized-ness on top would drape nearly over the fitted skirt (see the 1954 model above). But no-o-o-o-ot on me. I look best in the Dior New Look style full-skirt, tiny waist, fitted jacket, or in fitted jackets with A-line skirts. I don't even try on suit sets like the aformentioned sixties' Chanel-style anymore, unless the jacket is appropriately teeny and/or fur collared, because the skirt is just a waste of money and time.

PS: My favorite outfit in this book? Not sure if I'm suited towards this one or not, but I love everything about it:

Look at the enormous bag! The booties! The turtleneck that becomes a cowl! 

While I love every one of these looks (minus the dead-look the stole is still giving me, through its illustrated little beady eyes...I said I was sorry for trying that one fox on!), it's funny how I can eyeball items now that I'm almost in my thirties' that I would have had the optimism/lack of sense to try to wiggle into in my teens' and early twenties'. I feel like I almost might be developing a sense of style and what fits my body after lo, these many years of casting lots in the form of hangers in the dressing room.

Do you have any hard or fast shopping rules when it comes to either vintage clothes or knickknacks? Have you declared war on even ONE MORE such-and-such collectible into your house? How did you come to decide you had to put your foot down against this or that thing-to-buy?

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow. Til then!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Tour of the Boudoir (new Silvertone Record Console!)

Good morning!

Well, it was a winner of a weekend-- boy, and how! I managed to get a lot of stuff done, such as: 
  • Watched the rest of season 2 of Game of Thrones, experienced withdrawl from Game of Thrones, checked out books of Game of Thrones.
  • Goodwill'd my heart out.
  • Brunched with three lovely ladies at East Nashville happening brunch spot, Margot, and laughed more than I should have at my friend Alyx's description of her experience of snorkeling ("I looked down...and it was like the whole sea was in front of me...and it was like I could see my heart come out of my body...the sea is full of killers, ok?") (As if it was something Craig Robinson would say, IT'S STILL FUNNY TO ME)
Let's talk about the latter, because you know I didn't remember to take pictures of any of the former. All this agitation was precipitated by a whale of a find at an Inglewood estate sale on Friday morning. See if you can spot what I'm talking about:

Not pictured: 1930's waterfall vanity (you can see the corner of it at bottom left).
 I forgot to turn around to photograph it!
This is our bedroom! If I was on MTV's Cribs, I would probably have something pithy to say here, but plain and simple, here's a place where I rest my weary head at the end of a long day. I bet you can sight some things from previous weekend find posts in this room. But the one I'm so happy to add to our home is under the chalkware unicorn (how often do you get to say that?) deeeeeead center:

Dressmaker's mannequin in fur coat and feathered evening gown? Why not?
Aaaaah! It's a circa 1950 console Silvertone record player! I have upgraded from a wobbledy regular bedside table to THIS. HUNK. OF. BURNING LOVE:

Friday morning, I picked my dad up at 9:00 from his house with the expectation of hitting some sales in Donelson and maybe swinging back to one in our neck of the woods at journey's end. We made it to Lebanon Pike before poor Matthew called with the news that he had locked himself out of the house while courageously mowing the lawn in the sweltering heat, necessitating a return trip to Inglewood. I decided, aw, heck, let's go ahead and hit this sale out in Inglewood before we travel BACK to the suburbs, so we went to a sale on Earlene Drive back in the very Tudor-y, much tonier part of Inglewood near the Cumberland. Am I glad we did!

Three things that caught my notice upon entering this sale: the swarming-bee like intensity of people entering and leaving the house with large items in their hands, the seriously low prices on orange stickered items throughout the interior, and how clean everything was. Estate sales, as they are often held in houses that have either been neglected or downright vacant (if the relative had moved into assisted care or a family member's home), can be kind of weirdly musty, moldy...just uncared for. This house was very clean, nothing in it seemed newer than the eighties', and everything inside had obviously been meticulously kept since it was brought into the house. There was a gold brocade living room set that I couldn't even look at the price tag on because I knew I would try to buy it (couches! Why do you torment me!), and literally a room full of console record players. Which is to say three. This one caught my eye because it was so petite and the wood finish on it was so luxe. Price tag? $39.50 (due to chewed up cord...still not sure if it works because we'd need to replace said cord). After I gathered up about 30 country records from a nearby stack (Tammy and George! Merle Haggard! Jean Shepherd! Grand Ole Opry recordings from the seventies'! All almost-new-in-wrapper condition!), I went to ask the salesperson how bad the damage was to my pocketbook.
Me: I wanted to ask if you could do any better on that record player in the front room, the one that doesn't work.
He: Yeah, what have I got on it?
Me: Thirty nine fifty.
He: Could you do $25?
Me: Yes. Yes, I can.
Twenty five bucks, YAHOOOOOOOO...I was elated. My dad and I wrestled the box carefully into the back of the Civic, and went away with that weird, buyer's-thrill of having got something for a bargain that is completely awesome. Note that the radio only features AM (you can see more about why that would be here), and that the record player is secreted away in the center portion, where the gold handle is. You wouldn't even know it was a console if it weren't for the radio dial in the top middle!

When I got home, I cleaned the entire bedroom tip to top, moved the old nightstand into the attic (I think I'll give it to Goodwill, but sometime next week), and puzzled over how to arrange things. The top shelf is too small for 33's (I think it was meant for 78's), so I filled it in with some bedside reading materials that just fit. Below are the country records I bought at the same sale. Perfection! I still have somewhere to put my eyeglasses and iPod of an evening's rest, but boy, in what style!

So! What do you think about my bedroom? I know I need a rug in this space, but am looking for just the right tan or neutral, circular one like in the living room to fit the bill. How do you like my new night table? What kind of unusual uses-for-old-furniture have you implemented in your own home? Any whale-of-a-finds this weekend? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow. Til then!


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