When rummaging through racks of used dresses it’s easy to get lost in the heady mix of stained musty goodness. But keeping the “classics” in mind will help you get a lock on vintage dynamite. I spied this red, button down, shirtdress, with it’s classic chain print, while rummaging through Birmingham’s aptly-named Vintage Clothing store in Digbeth. The tag reads 100% Baumwolle*, by Nak Stoffe, a German textiler.
A staple of every designer’s winter cruise line, the chain print can also be worn by the rest of us — it’s graced shirts, dresses, belts and scarves at nearly every major retailer from J Crew to Guess (retch) to Top Shop. And it’s all over the stores this season according to one New Yorker’s non blog. My current favourite is Pringle’s geometric chain print on a classic day dress:
*baumwolle: tree (baum) wool – commonly known as cotton
There’s something special about being given a dress once owned and worn by a woman you admire. Here’s a hand-me-down 80s vintage number. Sans labels, it was bestowed on me by a hard-working, farmer’s wife from Tunstall, Kirby Lonsdale, Cumbria, England. The centre of this tiny village’s life, she defines all that is great about the Women’s Institute. Every Christmas hundreds of hanging cards sent from friends obscure the giant oak beams in her farmhouse. A hard-working B&B owner, family is the centrepoint of her life and I learned much from her.
Sheepish fashion columnists agree wardrobe staples are the white blouse, a good trench coat and a Birkin (yawn). But real staying power lies in the mighty vintage dress.
Maxi, mini, gown, pinafore, tube, bubble, sun, cocktail, wrap, strapless, sleeveless, shirt, smock, tunic, trapeze, sheath, kaftan, shift, swing, flounce — I dare you not to find one you like. Best of all the frock constitutes an entire outfit: simple.
Following some of the better advice in Brit fashion writer’s Tamsin Blanchard’s Green is the New Black, I rooted through my wardrobe to pull out all my lovely dresses in a bid to dissuade me from buying more, more, more.
So this week, in a nod to the lovely A Dress A Day blog, I’m putting my vintage frocks on show, beginning with my first purchase. Pink polyester with silvery thread can feel a bit like sandpaper against skin. If only it felt like how I imagine Michael Kors’s new — and not dissimilar — pebble brocade dress would. But I digress, this is one hot number. The jewel-encrusted collar is especially fun. A surbanite, GTA teen, I found this shift dress on one of many frequent visits to Kensington Market, for peanuts.
If you’ve got info on this vintage fashion label, please share the love.