In Your Wildest Dreams

If you’re a usual reader of vmmv, you’ll probably remember my love-post about my beautiful, vintage green coat and the store that I discovered it in:

vintage storeFor years, I’ve been making visits to my favorite vintage store and I never fail to emerge without another piece I’ve fallen in love with and had to take home with me. This week, I finally had time to make another trip into the treasure trove that is In Your Wildest Dreams Antiques and Consignments, and do a bit more thorough photo-shoot/interview of the lovely women who share my love of all things NOT of this era. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile, and when the ladies were so receptive of my idea, I couldn’t wait to share what I found with my blog-friends. So, here it is, a little peak into another world from the past that’s no longer just in your dreams:

in your wildest dreams

Living in the smallish, central California town of Bakersfield, “vintage,” “Hollywood glam,” “mod,” or “urban,” are labels that usually don’t enter your mind. Ah, but then you haven’t wandered into this hidden gem and spoken to Alissa and Alex, the vintage-experts working behind the counters of In Your Wildest Dreams who answered some questions I had for them with rather brilliant things I never even thought about!

Why would you choose a vintage piece over a new one? Alissa: “There’s more history to a vintage piece than a new one; their timeless, the material is higher quality, every piece is super unique, and it’s as if you’re wearing a story.”

How do you make a vintage outfit work in today’s world and still look up-to-date? Alex: “Wear whatever you’ve chosen with confidence.” Alissa: “That’s true, Alex picks out the ugliest, 80’s piece from the racks and she comes in the next day looking so adorable because she’s confident about her choice. Know your own style, and wear it with a sense of pride because vintage pieces are finds, you have to really look around to find good pieces.”

What should you look for when buying vintage clothing? Alissa: “Look for labels, in-tact seams, and most importantly, waists that fit you. Most vintage pieces run small since up until the 1960’s, women were wearing corsets.”(duh! why didn’t I think of that, I thought. Everytime I try on vintage things I’m always slightly horrified at how tiny the waists are…of course! I completely forgot the ladies of the past had a little extra assistance in the waist-department.)

vintage clothing

Whose your fashion muse? Alissa: “Dita Von Teese  Alex: *with a laugh* “The 80’s band, Dynasty.”

Favorite fashion era: Alissa: “The 30s to 1964, I like the corseted waist-look.” Alex: “The 80’s!”

Hardest vintage find:  Alissa: “Probably pants, jeans, casual wear, or lingerie.” I commented that I always feel like I need someplace to go when I wear vintage because the pieces are so dressy. Alissa suggested the best way to do casual-vintage is to pair a 1950’s style blouse with a modern pair of jeans or cigarette pants. It’s also a great way to keep old things feeling fresh.

What made you fall in love with vintage? Alissa: “Probably when I started sewing (she makes corsets!). It’s easier to see how an older item was made because the construction was so much better, and the seaming is flawless. Plus, building a wardrobe with vintage pieces is sort of a process of self-creation, you create an image from scratch from the pieces you find instead of copying a model from an ad. And, it’s sexy!”

 Men respond more to elegance rather than the current trends. If you’re doing a pin-up girl vibe, even though you’re covered up, it’s weird, but men find it way more attractive than the super short things.

I almost fell down and kissed her feet when she said that. That’s the whole reason I started my blog, I almost screamed in excitement! To show that classic femininity still has some serious power in today’s world! I settled on a vigorous nod of agreement and a huge smile as I wrote down her quote instead…no need to scare off a new kindred spirit just when you’ve made the acquaintance.

Where are the best places to shop for vintage clothing? Alex: “Bakersfield is actually one of my favorites! You wouldn’t think it’s true, but small cities are better for vintage finds. Alissa: “She’s right, in big cities like Los Angeles, vintage items are constantly being traded, worn, and resold. In smaller cities it’s easier to find pieces that have sometimes been cared for by the original owners. And if you look in non-touristy towns, you’ll also find the cheapest prices.” As she said this, Alissa showed me her beaded, vintage black cardigan she was wearing. She said it had the same owner for forty years when she found it, and she was right, it was nearly flawless and super-cute. Who would of thought? Bakersfield, or maybe I should say, In Your Wildest Dreams, is something of a vintage Mecca.

And finally, just for fun, would you ever consider buying/wearing a vintage wedding dress? Alissa: “I have!” Alex: “Definitely. Even vintage gowns that weren’t intended to be a wedding gown can look fantastic because they’re so exquisite.”

Finds from Your Wildest Dreams:

how to vintage shop

Yet again, I found some adorable pieces as I ran around snapping photos for this blog-spread: A 60’s era mod dress, some adorable scarves with great colors and vintage fabrics with nary a tear in sight, some wintery skirts I thought would be so classy to wear to a Christmas party, and even a full-length gown that could be paired with a modern, tailored jacket and heels for a seamless blend of vintage and new:

vintage holiday outfits

The detail and fit is what I love the most about these pieces. You couldn’t walk into a store today and find things with the beading and tailoring that these items have. And of course, I’m always a sucker for a 1950’s clutch or handbag with a snap:

vintage skirt

When I saw this little lace coat, I instantly thought of Doris Day in the movie That Touch of Mink. She wore a green-tinted lace housecoat just like this when she goes to Bermuda with Cary Grant. I think this coat is actually meant for outdoor wear, but I would definitely wear it as a sweet little overcoat for my pajamas. It’s finds like these that keep me dreaming about the next thing I’ll find at In Your Wildest Dreams:

vintage clothing like doris day

I’m so thankful to the ladies at the store for letting me quiz them and run around squealing and taking photos of my favorite pieces. If you’re local, I’m certain you’ll fall in love with this place, and if you’re not, take these tips to your own treasure trove. As Alissa put it best, the vintage “process of self-creation” is one you can’t get just by heading to the mall. Happy hunting!

– <3 A.

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Being A Dudley

Post-Thanksgiving marks a crucial time for most people. It’s the changing of the seasons from a sleepy fall into a full-blown, countdown to Christmas. I can feel it in the air. People are either quivering with excitement to release their energy on decking their halls, or are dangling on the precipice between stress and a breakdown over arriving at this time of year again and beginning to realize what needs to be done to”prepare” for the holidays. Or, throw in yet another factor. Perhaps you can’t even imagine spending a moment on Christmas preparations because life has, once again, accelerated at a ridiculous speed come the last month of the year.

I tend to stand on the side of those quivering with excitement to begin this season. So, this past weekend, even though Thanksgiving came early this year, I couldn’t help myself and decided to spend Friday in my sweats with nothing on my to-do list except officially initiating the house with the first of some Christmas cheer:

christmas mantle

christmas mantle

Christmas mantleAs I was hanging garland, straightening bows, and distributing some sparkle on Friday, I thought about the two approaches most people have to this time of year: Utter dread and disinterest, or unabashed obsession and excitement.

If you’ve never seen it, the 1947 Christmas classic, The Bishop’s Wife pretty much sums up these dichotomies. The film is about a Bishop (David Niven) who is so distracted by his ambitions for raising money to build a new cathedral, he has made his wife (Loretta Young) completely miserable by his selfishness and drive for the latest, greatest things. He never spends time with her or his daughter anymore, believes her small attempts to bring joy into their house childish and wasteful, and begins to treat everyone in his home as slaves.

the bishops wife

Into this disgruntled family, an angel (Cary Grant) enters disguised as a man applying for a secretary job to assist the overworked Bishop. His real intentions become clear though when the angel, or “Dudley,” shows the Bishop’s wife how to be happy again, how to be kind and show love, how to appreciate small things, and how to bring joy back into a home. While the Bishop obsesses about how to impress people so that they will give him money, Dudley seeks out lonely people to cheer with some of the joy of the Christmas season. And, while the Bishop is focused on building a spectacular cathedral, Dudley focuses on rebuilding a home that is crumbling under the burden of supporting the Bishop’s ambitions.

the bishops wife

the bishops wifeAt the conclusion of the film, it’s clear that Dudley’s simple ways have made a far bigger contribution to the Bishop’s parish and family than the Bishop’s overblown attempts at perfection. So, this year, be a Dudley. Even if you don’t have the powers of an angel, you do have the power to make some magic just by keeping it simple.  the bishops wife

Don’t let your ambitions for a perfect Christmas run away with you, or, don’t let the fear of not creating the perfect Christmas paralyze you from enjoying a very, very special time.

nativity

Christmas pearl trees

– <3 A. 

Celebrations

I have lots to celebrate today. For one thing, its the first monthiversary of the blog! It seems both much longer and much sooner than a month ago that I began. Thank-you to everyone who has been reading along and commenting, its so great to hear feedback of what you’re enjoying most.

It is one of my main intentions with this blog to offer to all of you some examples of women who embody the definition of a classic woman: one who is graceful, kind, seeks to lead by example, is able to love and be loved, supports, inspires, is ambitious without being aggressive, and selflessly nurtures when called upon to do so.

It’s easy to pick out muses like Grace Kelly and Sandra Dee for their impeccable style; to quote authors like Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf; or to point to fictional characters like Mrs. Gigglebelly, Kathleen Kelly, and Mary Poppins for their life lessons.

Perhaps you say though that this still doesn’t prove it can be done in the modern world; that this style and way of life is archaic. That the modern world necessitates that we re-think how women dress, act, achieve, and live. You even may say that the era of golden girls like Grace and Sandra is long gone, and Mary Poppins’ lessons are fine and dandy for when you’re five years old, but what about when you grow up and its 2012? What then?

It is possible though. I am convinced because I see it acted out everyday. The muse is a real woman; in fact, she’s a modern woman, and I offer her to you as a perfect example of what it means to represent femininity at its best.

My Mom.

She’s my real life Grace Kelly, my Mrs. Gigglebelly, my Mary Poppins. Everything that fills my life with joy and beauty, I first learned from my mother:

I learned about Jane Austen from her copy of Pride and Prejudice, placed always on the dining room bookshelves and read so often the binding was falling to pieces. I learned that reading the entire children’s section of the Beale Memorial Library was not impossible. I learned that writing was fun; that Doris Day and Cary Grant are the best on-screen couple. I learned that the most powerful job you can have is being a wife and mother; that showing love is not measured by dollar signs but often by a handmade gift, always (willingly) showing up to every dance rehearsal, putting someone’s hair in the perfect bun, or racing home to fetch the forgotten essay. I learned that arguments are settled by conversation, and that there won’t be arguments if there is conversation. I learned that you don’t have to know what you’re doing to decorate a room, you just try it and love it or hate it and change it and have so much fun in between. I learned that being selfless makes you the most precious, that laughter is the most beautiful sound in a home, and what reliability looks like.

Most of all though, what I learned from my Mom is how to love. How to show someone that they are your whole world, that you cannot imagine a life without them, and how you never regret anything that is for them. So, thanks mom, for being a muse far better than any other woman, real or fictional, and for effortlessly acting out what it means to be a wonderful woman. Oh yes, and happy birthday.

– <3 A.