Winters Past Vintage in Micanopy, Florida

Featuring the Best of 20th Century Fashion

October 21, 2016
by Winters Past

Rhoda Morgenstern is my Spirit Animal

How many TV sitcom “best friend” characters can you name? Now, how many of them are as memorable, stylish and interesting as the big name? Here’s my pick: Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary Tyler Moore’s cool, funky upstairs neighbor. Mary and Rhoda epitomized two sides of seventies fashion. Midwestern Mary rocked her ladylike career separates while New Yorker Rhoda wore a bold and fun neo hippie mix.

What are the hallmarks of  Rhoda’s artistic 70’s style? First and most memorable are scarves in wonderful patterns tied low on the forehead, turban style. She wore lots of color (especially red), patterns, draped fabrics, tunics, layers, ethnic influences, bohemian overtones, and lots and lots of jewelry.

Rhoda Mrgenstern style maven

Rhoda Morgenstern, style maven, shows us how to wrap and tie a scarf

Rhoda Morgenstern in her signature scarves

She mixed patterns fearlessly

style tips from Rhoda Mrgenstern

Two very stylish ladies, two great dresses, two aspects of 70’s fashion

Rhoda Morgenstern in a Mexican dress

Rhoda does ethnic, this time in a Mexican dress

Here is an elegant evening look. In keeping with her overall style, it features draped fabrics and great jewelry, including carved bakelite bangles.

Rhoda Morgenstern

October 16, 2016
by Winters Past

How to Wear a Vintage Pillbox Hat

Now that you’ve mastered the beret, it’s time to move on to the second most wearable hat on the planet: the pillbox.  A nice pillbox is really no scarier than a  beret.  It’s very classic in a true-to-vintage way,  but it’s also got clean modern lines and not too many extraneous details.

Here is the first iconic sixties pillbox hat photo:

Jackie in a pillbox hat

Jackie in a pillbox hat, looking chic as always

And this is the second:

audrey helburn in a pillbox

Audrey Hepburn in an amazing leopard skin chapeau

The pillbox obviously goes well with a ladylike skirt suit, but it also plays well with a harder edged look, like a jean jacket with a leather pencil skirt. Wear it back on the head like Jackie and Audrey did  or give it a nice side tilt. Keep your hair simple, and bobby pin the hat to your hair.

Now play the Bob Dylan tune in your head as you walk down the street.

“I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Well, you must tell me, baby

How your head feels under somethin’ like that?”

I’d say it feels sexy and nicely retro.

how to wear a pillbox hat

A black  pillbox hat with a little black dress

how to wear a vintage pillbox hat

Vintage head to toe, topped with a pillbox

how to wear a vintage pillbox hat

Very modern outfit with (you guessed it) a  vintage pillbox hat

October 5, 2016
by Winters Past

Why a Beret is the Perfect Starter Hat

You know the concept of a starter house? Like, a first time home buyer looks for a simple way to ease into home ownership. They’re looking for something manageable- a cottage or a townhouse or a bungalow.

I have a friend who tells recently single ladies that they need to have a starter man. Same idea in human form: a perfectly nice guy who may not be the one you live out your sunset years with but he’s great fun and not too big of a commitment.

Let’s expand on this notion. Let’s say you would like to evolve into a hat wearer some day but you kind of want to ease into it. You’re not ready for a feather or a veil or a even a brim. So choose the perfect starter hat: a beret.

They’re so easy to wear. You can just pop one on and not have the nagging thought, Do I look like a dork in this hat?

Here’s the beauty of a beret: there are about 8 zillion ways to wear one. You can wear it slightly back on your head, or tilted to one side. You can tuck your hair underneath, or not. If you have bangs, you can set a beret behind them. They work great with a braid or two. You can pouf them out or flatten them. So easy even a hat newbie can do it.

For inspiration, let’s look at some classic berets worn by famous ladies.

How to wear a beret

Bardot, Bonnie, Bacall, Bianca and the ever wholesome Mary

Now let’s have a look at some modern beret wearersHow to wear a beret

See? The beret is such a chameleon! It’s not just for artists anymore.

September 27, 2016
by Winters Past

How to Style a Victorian Blouse (and keep it modern)

I’m noticing a new take on a look that has cycled around in various forms for years. I’m talking about white Victorian style blouses, the ones with high necks, ruffles and lace. I have quite a few of them in the shop, mostly from the late seventies and early eighties.

You’ve seen these before. In the past, they’ve been worn in one of two ways.

One option was to give them  a gothic-decadent feel paired with velvet, boots, long nails, bold rings and a deep lip color. Picture a fashion forward vampire or Prince in Purple Rain.

On the flip side, this style of blouse has also played it dainty, sweet and feminine. Think pearls, ballet flats, flowery skirts. I’m definitely not feeling this route currently.

What I’m seeing now is a nice modern take on the Victorian inspired top. When these blouses are juxtaposed with current staples like jeans or trousers and maybe a bomber jacket, they look completely fresh and new. Have a look:

How to style a vintage Victorian blouse

September 18, 2016
by Winters Past

Vintage Crossbody Bags

What creates a trend? I wonder about that when I notice mini trends in the shop. Out of the blue,  a bunch of customers all want the same thing at the same time and I think, Now where’d that come from?

Right now, it’s vintage cross body bags from the seventies. Women in my shop are gravitating to purses with a slim silhouette that are chic in an understated way and maybe have one cool detail.

I think this micro trend is coming from women, not from designers. On the runway, handbags are extreme: they’re big enough to put a toddler in or so minuscule you can’t carry an i phone 6. And there is just too much going on, style-wise.

The bags women are gravitating toward in the shop are simple in design. There’s no fur, no logo, no pompoms, and no craziness. These are cute, practical everyday bags that read as modern and of-the-moment.

An important part of this trend: these bags are hands-free. Unlike a clutch or handbag, vintage cross body bags make sense for everyday wear.


Here’s where the cool factor comes in. The purses women are snapping up have a a touch of funkiness. Like the tortoiseshell patterned patent leather one I sold to a Belgian tourist last week. Wearable yet fabulous.

Here are a few I have in the shop right now:

vintage purse

Purple! Velvet!

vintage purse

Woven leather

vintage purse

Grey envelope

vintage purse

White mesh

vintage seventies handbag

Navy velvet

vintage purse

Embossed and embellished

vintage purse

Camel leather with tassels

September 8, 2016
by Winters Past

Wear an 80’s Blazer

It was hot and humid here in Florida until two days ago when it dipped down into the 70’s. That’s not exactly crisp autumn weather,  but apparently my customers are optimistically looking forward to cooler days ahead. People are starting to ask  for jackets and sweaters, so I’m going through my stash of vintage toppers, pulling out the best ones to display.

In the world of vintage jackets, you know what’s looking fresh to me right now? Eighties blazers. There is always something slightly “off” (in a fun sort of way) about the proportions: they’re a little bit shrunken, or boldly oversized, the shoulder pads are so dramatic, or they’re super loose and drape-y. Maybe some of them are trying a bit too hard to be an 80’s version of preppy; the madras is a kind of bright or the buttons are over-the-top faux military. Great! This makes them perfect candidates to be your cool weather signature pieces.

Pair one with what you’re already wearing- jeans, of course, a tee or a soft chambray shirt, sure. Simple enough, Now, how about wearing that statement jacket with some high waisted trousers, or a lace mini, or a leather pencil skirt? Yes, please.

Now play a little: roll up the sleeves, or push them up Miami Vice style. Try adding a big scarf or a fur collar, draped over the shoulders. Or a cross body bag, or a hat, or a statement necklace. or a big brooch on the lapel. You get the idea.

Keep your hair unfussy and the whole thing reads as very modern.

how to wear a vintage blazer

how to wear a vintage blazer

how to wear a vintage blazer

how to wear a vintage blazer

August 31, 2016
by Winters Past

Fresh Prints

The mid sixties into the seventies was a spectacular period for fabric design. There were innovations in cloth that gave us silky polyesters. When they were printed with the new synthetic dyes, a whole world of exciting possibilities opened up.

The color combinations were wild, shocking, sometimes clashing. And the prints! Swirls, paisleys, geometrics, psychedelics and all manner of reigned florals emerged.

In contrast to the rather ladylike patterns of the fifties, sixties textiles were a whirlwind of fantasy and wit. Here are a few examples.

Emilio Pucci, the Prince of Prints, designed in bright, clear colors and modern geometric designs:

emilio-pucci print

Emilio Pucci print

In England, the designer Barbara Hulanicki reached back to art deco themes, updated with modern color palettes for her popular Biba shops.

Biba print

Biba print

Master colorist Emanuel Ungaro gave us fluid prints:

Ungaro print

Ungaro print

Textile designer Celia Birtwell drew her inspiration from romantic and classical themes, reinterpreted for a modern audience. Her husband, designer Ossie Clark, printed her designs onto chiffon, jersey or crepe de chine and cut them into his flamboyant frocks.

cecelia birtwell print

Cecelia Birtwell print

Here are some prints on dresses I have in the shop right now.

vintage mod prints

Dreamy colors

vintage mod prints

Pop art prints

vintage mod prints

Paisleys and geometrics

vintage mod prints

vintage mod prints

August 19, 2016
by Winters Past

Laundry Day

Buying and selling vintage clothing means I do a whole lot of laundry.

I wash most things in the bathtub, hang them up to dry, then steam them. Usually, that does the trick.

However, when clothing has been stored for decades, washing can get a little more complex. Lately, I’ve come across laundry issues that I’ve been able to remedy with concoctions of non toxic household products.

Here are a few tips for the intrepid.

This is  a good way to get rid of yellow underarms on vintage dresses and blouses: I make a paste with crushed aspirin and cream of tartar and rub it into the offending area. Sometimes I have to do this twice before the old stains melt away, but the success rate has been 100%.

vintage laundry

Two vintage laundry essentials

I had a few mens hats that needed cleaning beyond my usual steaming. I put the hat in a grocery bag and sprinkled in a good amount of cornstarch, then brushed it off with a wire brush. Et voila! Good as new.

vintage laundry

Corn starch and a wire brush for cleaning hats.

Have you ever come across clothing that isn’t colorfast? I’ve had some cotton dresses with colors that ran when I washed them. I had a fabulous dress with big white flowers on a yellow background. When I washed it, the yellow ran into the white, causing me to franticly google for a remedy. The cure was table salt, lots of it, and it worked, saving the white-and-yellow dress. Crisis averted!

Here is a re-post of a previous piece about doing laundry, vintage style:

Today, laundry tips and a few thoughts about laundry. I promise this is more interesting than it sounds.

When Peggy Lee asked Is that all there is? was she talking about laundry?

When Peggy Lee asked, Is that all there is? was she talking about laundry?

My mother, Phyllis, who is 92 years old, is a bookish sort. One of my earliest memories is watching her make coffee in a stovetop percolator and settle into a kitchen chair with a hefty book. There was no June Cleaver vacuuming in pearls and heels in our house; Phyllis was pretty detached housekeeper. When it came to laundry, she didn’t sort, she didn’t use any special products; she just threw it all in together on hot and hoped for the best. Clothing had to be tough if it wanted to survive in our house. Needless to say, Phyllis took the phrase “permanent press” at it’s word, meaning I never saw anyone iron my entire childhood. From her, I learned the joy of ignoring the mess and getting absorbed in a book.


My friend Frances’ mom was the complete opposite. First of all, her mother, Teresa, looked and dressed a bit like a young Sophia Loren. She smoked, teased her hair and wore eyeliner while doing housework. Watching laundry day at her house was an amazing sight. Teresa had a whole lot of complicated pile separation criteria. Her process involved some Fels Naptha laundry soap, which came in a bar and was used with an actual washboard to get out stains. And, almost unbelievably, she used a hand crank wringer-washer. Of course, there were clotheslines, wooden pins and woven baskets, which all seemed very old world and exotic to me.

If you get dressed up to do the laundry, when do you wash that dress?

If you get dressed up to do the laundry, when do you wash that dress?

I had a few things to figure out when I grew up, and laundry wasn’t high on the list, though I did get the basic sorting and temperature thing down pretty quickly. Lately, though, my own laundry situation has been complicated by my need to wash lots and lots of vintage clothes for the shop.

Here are a few of the things I’m learning by trial and error:

I always soak the garment in plain cool water to rejuvenate the fibers before using any products or even soap.    Sometimes there is residual detergent, fabric softener or starch that you don’t want to battle in the stain removal process. Change the water until it runs clear.

To get rid of a musty smell, I soak the garment in water with a heathy splash of vinegar, and rinse well. After I soak it,  put it out in the sun for a couple of hours. Fresh air and sunlight will freshen vintage textiles.

Wearing a pinafore is an important part of the process

Wearing a pinafore is an important part of the process

I sometimes pre-treat tough stains with club soda or carbonated water. There is something about the carbonation that helps loosen stains. Just drizzle the sparking water right on it. The water will fizz up; let it sit for a while. While you wait, you can drink the rest of the carbonated water and read a good book. Then  apply stain remover and rub gently. Wait a bit, rinse, then repeat if you need to.

My favorite product by far is Oxiclean. I use the powder, which I dissolve it in very hot water before adding cool water and the clothing. Make sure Oxiclean is dissolved before adding to delicate fabrics such as silk because a small granule sitting on the fabric can eat it away.

For yellowing age-stains in cotton I mix a solution of half Oxiclean and half dishwasher detergent in hot water. I use  1  Tbs. of each cleaner in a gallon of hot water and soak overnight.

Oxiclean will eat rayon and metallic threads, both of which were often used in vintage clothes. In this case, mix and dissolve powdered Biz and Dreft 50/50 in water as hot as you think your dress or blouse can stand, add the garment and let soak for a few hour or a few days. If the water gets dirty, rinse and start over. Some stains may take a week, but they eventually just ‘release’.

Sorting laundry as a bonding experience

Sorting laundry as a bonding experience

See, laundry isn’t so bad! Of course, if you tease your hair, apply some eyeliner and read a book while you do all of this, you’ll have the best of all worlds.

August 9, 2016
by Winters Past

Why Wear Vintage?

it’s easier than ever to buy new clothing. There’s no longer a need to get off the couch-just point, click and wait 24 hours for the UPS man.

Buying vintage is a bit more complicated. Why make the extra effort? In short, why buy vintage?

Here are five very good reasons:

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage Has History 

Vintage clothing has a past and learning or imagining it is part of the charm of wearing it. Often I purchase items from the original owner who tells me the stories associated with their clothing: where they bought it, where they wore it, and why they kept it all these years.

Owning and wearing vintage clothing is a way of honoring a small gem from another era.

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage is One of a Kind

In the modern globalized world, you can buy the same clothing at the same retailer in Tokyo, Toronto or Toledo. As an antidote to all that sameness, there is something wonderful about wearing a garment that is singular and that nobody else will be wearing.

There is so much creativity expressed in older clothing , from the overall silhouette to the details (the fabrics, the prints, the trim). This all  adds to the specialness that come with fine vintage.

Vintage clothing has a character, uniqueness, whimsy and artistry that is lacking in modern, factory produced pieces sold in chain stores.

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage is High Quality

In the past, people had less clothing and they kept it longer. Vintage clothing was constructed to last; there was more emphasis on it being well made. Better materials and techniques were used and there was more sewing done by hand. Very often the cut, quality and fabric of older clothes is better than modern garments. It is not uncommon to find luxurious details like French seams, generous hems, and exquisitely crafted pleats on older garments.

By wearing vintage, you have the chance to experience true luxury construction at a less-than-luxury price.

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage is an Investment 

How many pieces of new clothing can you buy and expect them to last more than a season, much less keep their value? Many pieces of vintage clothing have value that raises with time. There will never be more 1950’s wiggle dresses, 1960’s Pucci silks, or 1970’s high waisted Levi’s bell bottoms made. Because they become harder and harder to find, with time these garments become more valuable. Vintage is money well spent.

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage Is Available in All Styles

What if a particular cut of clothing works with your body type but isn’t the style being offered in stores right now? Vintage encompasses all styles from all eras and it’s all available to you. So if a you happen to feel comfortable and look great in a particular style, you don’t have to wait for it to become a trend. Vintage offers style and fit options for every body.

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

Vintage dresses at Winters past in Micanopy Florida

The most compelling reason is how a vintage garment makes you feel: fabulous!

August 4, 2016
by Winters Past

Vintage Clip Earrings

Before the 1970’s, most American women didn’t have pierced ears. Consequently, most of the vintage earnings I have are non-pierced.

Here is a little secret: clip earrings from the 50’s to the 80’s are amazing!  I have a ton of them in the shop. A TON! And I’m always looking for more.  There is so much creativity in these pieces. There just aren’t modern designs that pack the visual punch of a  vintage statement earring.

The 50’s pieces tend to be beaded or sparkly while the later ones are more geometric or abstract.

One more thing: there are lots of styles you just can’t pull off in pierced earrings because they’d be too heavy for a post.  Picture some sparkly crawlers that arc up the ear. They can only be anchored to the lobe with a clip.

Here are a few pairs I have in the shop:

vintage clip earrings at Winters Past in Micanopy Florida

vintage clip earrings at Winters Past in Micanopy Florida

vintage clip earrings at Winters Past in Micanopy Florida

vintage clip earrings at Winters Past in Micanopy Florida

And here are a few ideas about how to wear vintage clip-ons.

how to wear vintage earrings

Long hair? Just tuck it behind your ears.

how to wear vintage earrings

You can wear vintage clips as here, super casual, with a tee  and a sweatshirt

how to wear vintage clip earrings

The boldness of a clip is a great balance to short hair. Sweet!

how to wear vintage clip earrings

Here is a wonderful pair of sparkly clips worn with an updo and a great sense of style