Lately, I've been finding myself having to describe in detail what vintage actually is. My customers call and ask about what it is that I do and what I carry. Naturally I describe the process of choosing from my collection of vintage dresses and how we re-work the dress if desired. When I first started my business everyone understood and appreciated the concept. But this last year I've been getting questions like: "Can I get this in a different size?", "Can I order it in a different color?", "Oh, is it used? Has it been worn before?" So then I begin to describe that vintage means it is one of kind (I have one, just one of that style) and it was made earlier than 20 years ago ( but as the years go by this means that the early 90's is classified as vintage! ACK!) I was surprised by the lack of knowledge re: vintage by most young people and then I came to realize than the term vintage has become so generic that the concept is watered down and washed out. For a while designers started phrasing their collection as "Vintage inspired". Even though these styles bore no resemblance to any vintage theme that I could see I accepted their version if they felt it was so inspired. But now it has become such a marketing frenzy that everything is being called vintage when there really is no reference whatsoever. No wonder people are confused! As someone who works with authentic vintage pieces it is becoming a challenge to distinguish myself from the rest. Therefore I guess I may be moving into the role as educator - although I am by no means a expert on the history of fashion but I am old enough to remember more than most of you! :)
At last I am revealing my new designs: vintage bridal skirts! What a concept right? I love the idea of creating separates for versatility in both size and style. It's easy and makes so much sense. I've designed some photo shoots to show how you can style your own skirt. This lovely ruffled skirt is paired with a simple stretch lace top for a simple but elegant look. As I mention in my book (How to restyle a vintage wedding gown) this is just one design idea that lets you recapture a beautiful piece of a vintage gown and make it your own.
This is for all you vintage gals out there looking for a vintage bridal gown for your wedding: I know what a challenge it is to find a dress in good shape as well as one that fits your shape! With my experience in repairing, cleaning, restyling and resizing vintage gowns, I am sharing my tips and ideas to help you with your quest. I hope that you find the book both helpful and inspirational. (pardon the repetitive postings from Blurb - I'm just figuring out the widgets!)
I have been so crazy busy preparing for this show I almost forgot to mention it! So, here it is. I am showing my Vintage Bridal Fashions this Sunday at the BayAreaWeddingFair at the Parc55 Hotel in San Francisco- whoo hoo! I'll be part of their "Theme wedding" venue. This show is tailored for the 'alternative' bride. Come on out and see what I've been designing. Details and reduced ticket prices at www.Bayareaweddingfairs.com. Hope to see you there
It's about time we had this discussion. To begin with, in our current marketplace a size 2 in one designer's dress can be a totally different size in another designer's dress. So, all sizes are not the same in today's world. When we talk about vintage sizes that's a whole other ballywick. You've got to know that you cannot compare today's size with yesteryear's size. For one thing, in the good 'ole days there was no dress size smaller than an 8. For another, many dresses were homemade, custom made or altered from a store bought dress. Any of you familiar with shopping vintage know by now that clothes were much smaller then and yes, that's because 1. People were smaller then 2. We have grown as a human species (especially in our lung and ribcage area) 3. Many dresses you find were worn by much younger women of the times and 4. Women wore corsets from a young age.
So here's some tips when buying a vintage dress -especially online!
1. Be sure to measure your ribcage area and ask the seller for this same measurement on the dress as well. This is the most likely place where you just can't get the zipper up. You may have a small waist but the ribcage will get you everytime.
2. Measure from your shoulder to your waist (and again ask for the same measurement from the seller as well). I've found this to be another area where the dresses are too shortwaisted for us. If there is a simple strap an alteration can sometimes work by adding into the shoulder seam.
Stay tuned for my upcoming book on more tips and tricks for altering your vintage dress!