Winters Past Vintage in Micanopy, Florida

Featuring the Best of 20th Century Fashion

September 18, 2016
by Winters Past
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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 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
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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
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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
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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.

mvnb

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
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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
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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

July 28, 2016
by Winters Past
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Style Eccentrics

I’m sure you’ve seen the whole capsule wardrobe thing. You know, buy these tops, those bottoms and that pair of shoes. Get minimal, streamlined basics that mix and match, simplifying shopping and dressing. It’s intriguing, for sure.

But it doesn’t leave much room for playfulness, or for those occasional wild flights of frivolous improvisation that makes clothing less  a commodity and more a means of expression.

On the opposite end of the clothing spectrum from the capsule wardrobe concept  we have the Style Eccentrics. They are sensual extremists; they go for maximalism, fantasy and wild impracticality.

Here is a gallery celebrating 100 years of over-the-top ladies. Channel your inner Iris Apfel, pour yourself an absinthe, curl up next to your pet cheetah and have a look at these sartorial creatives.

Marchesa Casati, heiress, muse, and art patroness

(As an aside, who knew those were career options?):

Fashion eccentrics

Aristocratic Decadance

Nancy Cunard, writer, heiress and political activist:

Fashion eccentrics

Wrist to elbow bangles

Peggy Guggenheim, art collector, bohemian and socialite:

Fashion eccentrics

Wacky Modernist (with outrageous sunglasses)

Yma Sumac, Peruvian-American soprano:

Fashion eccentrics

Global Exoticism

China Machado, fashion model, editor and television producer:

Fashion eccentrics

Fearless Elegance

Isabelle Blow, magazine editor and muse of a hat designer:

Fashion eccentrics

Memorable Milinary

Eryka Badu,singer-songwriter, record producer and activist:

Fashion eccentrics

Urban Mystic

Bjork, Icelandic singer-songwriter and actress:

Fashion eccentrics

Playful Experimentation

Lisa Eisner, photographer, writer, publisher and jewelry designer:

Fashion eccentrics

Maximal Accessories

Catherine Baba, costume designer, art director and stylist:

Fashion eccentrics

Turbans and Tassels

July 22, 2016
by Winters Past
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Arm Candy

You know the Johnny Cash song where he starts reeling off the names of places, one after another? Like, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac?  I’m about to reel off the various types of vintage bracelets, so keep that  song I’ve Been Everywhere in your head as a reference.

Ready? OK, there are  cameos, damascene,  rhinestones,

cloisonné,  abalone, Czech glass

Lucite, bakelite, hammered brass,

I’ve worn everything, man, I’ve worn everything.

Here’s where this is going: When it comes to vintage bracelets, wearing one is good but wearing three is even better.

I’ve found that  if you try combining three different bracelet styles on one wrist it’s a cool, bold look that is very easy to put together.  Mix it up by layering color, texture and materials.

Here, I’ve played with this idea by experimenting with vintage bracelet layering, purposefully mixing types such as  a chain, a bangle, and a cuff.

When you’re going with  a bold bracelet combo,  you can keep everything else more understated.

mix and match vintage bracelets

Thermoset, stretchy band, brass and wood

mix and match vintage bracelets

Flex mesh, cut out cuff, cut glass

mix and match vintage bracelets

Tortiseshell, cameo, floral cuff

mix and match vintage bracelets

Wooden bangle, golden chain, fifties beads

mix and match vintage bracelets

Aurora borealis, mod silver, mother of pearl

mix and match vintage bracelets

Pearl and rhinestone, flexible wire, carved bone

mix and match vintage bracelets

Painted wood, golden sparkly, beads on a band

I’ve worn everything, man, I’ve worn everything.

BAND OF OUTSIDERS AS BEATNIK STYLE

July 15, 2016
by Winters Past
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Beat Generation Style

Picture a Gap commercial, with dancing celebrities wearing the clothing we now consider classic: khakis, striped tops, leggings, Ray Bans. This style has it’s roots in the “Beat Generation” literary movement of the 1950s to mid-1960s. The Beat poets, musicians and artists had a style that was in opposition to the 50’s middle class look of crinolines and rhinestones for women, corporate clothes for men. The Beat aesthetic was anti materialistic; they consciously avoided consumerist fashions, adopting more egalitarian, simply styled clothing . The Beats developed an understated look that captured a cool, casual view of trends.

The key to Beatnik style is avoiding fuss – keeping things simple. Let’s look at two avatars of beatnik style, trumpeter Dizzy Gilispie and poet Diane DiPrima.

Dizzy Gillispie as an avatar of beatnik style

Dizzy Gillispie as an avatar of beatnik style

Dizzy Gillispie as an avatar of beatnik style

The memorable eyeglasses and hat became signature beat looks

Dizzy Gillispie as an avatar of beatnik style

Essentially simple pieces (a sweater vest, beret and buttoned up shirt) added up to a cool, hip style

Men of the fifties creative class wore corduroys or jeans, button-down shirts, and sport coats, which is essentially the semi casual uniform of the midcentury young adult. Add in some thick/dark glasses, a beret, loafers and lots and lots of black and you have a style that we now call classic.

For women, it’s pencil skirts, stirrup pants, black capris or cigarette pants worn with an over sized sweater, cowl neck or slim boat necked top and flats.  Now and then, a Mexican skirt or peasant top might be part of this look. Hair would be either very short like a young Shirley MacLaine or long with bangs, like French actress Anna Karena. Showy jewelry or consciously couture looks ran the risk of coming off too bourgeois.

Here is poet Diane DiPrima int the fifties

Here is poet Diane DiPrima in the fifties with simple pulled back hair and a tank top

Here is poet Diane DiPrima int the fifties

Slim white pants, a tailored shirt and some great lace up sandals

Here is poet Diane DiPrima int the fifties

An oversized pullover sweater, simple bold  jewelry and natural hair.

Of course, the anti fashion look became fashionable and the counterculture itself became chic. Here is a wonderful ad for stockings that trades on the beatnik look, including a bottle of chianti on the checkered tablecloth:

beatnik style

Beatnik style used in advertising

In contrast to the photo at the start of this post from the Goddard film Band of Outsiders,  here is Hollywood’s version of fifties hipster cool from the movie Funny Face:

Audrey Hepburn as a beatnik

Audrey Hepburn as a beatnik

July 1, 2016
by Winters Past
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Vintage Pins on a Denim Jacket

Customers love the many vintage brooches I have in the shop, but sometimes they want to know how to wear them. Here’s a simple, cool thing to do with these pretty pins: put them on a jean jacket. Easy!

It helps if the jacket you choose is a classic one. Go for traditional, plain, fitted denim. Then take that jean jacket from drab to fab (do you like it when I rhyme like a caffeinated copywriter?) with some vintage loveliness.

There seem to be two ideas about the number of pins to wear. Some say, wear lots of brooches while others go for a  single one. Either way, it’s a great look.

Note the man wearing a brooch on the bottom. I think a choice has to be made between a man bun and a man brooch. Not both.

vintage pin on a jean jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a jean jacket

vintage pin on a jean jacket

vintage pin on a jean jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

vintage pin on a denim jacket

Vintage brooch + classic denim jacket = great style!