Winters Past Vintage in Micanopy, Florida

Featuring the Best of 20th Century Fashion

December 1, 2016
by Winters Past

In Style for a Century: The Little Black Dress

Nearly 100 years ago, Coco Chanel created an idea that became  emblematic of Gallic chic: the Little Black Dress, or LBD. It was inspired by widows’ mourning dresses, worn by Edith Piaf as she sang about love and loss and remains a symbol of stylish sophistication.

In the 30’s and 40’s, Hollywood gave us Film Noir, in which a  femme fatal clad in a simple black sheath meant danger and mystery, adding to the LBD’s mythology. In the 50’s, a black cocktail dress provided an elegant contrast to the more girly, kittenish fashions of the day. Each era has reinterpreted it; hemlines, necklines and embellishments change but the allure of the LBD remains.

Here is a little tour of LBDs through the 20th century:

little black dresses, a fashion history

20’s:Chanel, 30’s: Josephine Baker, 40’s: Bacall and 50’s:Monroe

little black dresses, a fashion history

1960’s & ’70’s: Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Givenchy dress, Catherine Deneuve, the Supremes and Jackie O

little black dresses, a fashion history

1980’s and ’90’s: Lady Di, Madonna, SJP and Carolyn Bessete Kennedy make the clavicle an erogenous zone

In the modern fashion era, there is very little distinction between age groups when it comes to fashion; toddlers and their grandmothers can wear the same outfit. However, the LBD is one of the few garments created specifically for a grown woman. Black dresses express a mature sensuality, which is part of their allure.

Miuccia Prada says,   “To me, designing a little black dress is trying to express in a simple, banal object, a great complexity about women, aesthetics, and current times.”

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

little black dresses at Winters Past

November 19, 2016
by Winters Past

Eighties Cocktail Dresses, A Study in Wonderful Excess

Ahh, eighties evening wear. It’s all about overconsumption and extravagance. It’s got maximal glamor, over the top details, oversized shoulder pads and extreme bedazzling. There are studs, sequins, beads and flowers. And ruching! Pleats! Rhinestones! Bows! Dropped waists! Asymetrical hemlines! Ruffles! Pepums! I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

These pieces are so full of optimism and fun and they cry out for a dance party. There is a real Latin dance influence here, referencing salsa, flamenco, rhumba and tango.

Now here is my question: where the heck were people going in these dresses? Were there just nonstop cocktail parties for an entire decade?

Here is a gallery of just a few examples of the wonder that is eighties evening wear that I have in the shop right now. Time to plan a spectacular New Years Eve dance party!

eighties cocktail dresses

So many design elements in one garment!

eighties cocktail dresses

Sequined chevrons!

eighties cocktail dresses

One sided waist detail!

eighties cocktail dresses

Pouffy sleeves, bows, sparkly things!

eighties evening wear

Rows and rows of chiffon, a bow, rhinestones and…a sweater top!

eighties evening wear

Big! Fuchsia! Bow!

eighties evening wear

Big sparkly fishtail pave sequins!

November 2, 2016
by Winters Past

Vintage Fashion’s Rock and Roll Roots

Here is a question for you: when did people start to wear vintage clothes as a fashion choice?

As far as I can tell, it was in London in 1965. when musicians started shopping the Portobello Rd flea market for exotic, romantic older clothing. In contrast to the mod fashions of the day, they were seeking  a bohemian aura of faded grandeur.

This photo of  Jimi Hendrix wearing an antique military jacket is one of the earliest images I have seen of a musician wearing vintage:

Jimi Hendrix wearing antique military jacket

Jimi in that iconic antique military jacket and other vintage finery

By the Summer of Love in the Haight Ashbury section of San Fransisco, musicians  sought out  Victorian lace and velvet to wear along with their jeans, fringed vests and tie dye. Think Grace Slick and Janis Joplin here. This evolved into the granny dress, a late sixties-early seventies classic.

romantic Victorian dress

romantic Victorian dress

In some ways, the seventies were a forties throwback. The early Pointer Sisters (who sang lots of swing-era songs and were awesome) dressed in forties clothes head to toe, as did both a young Bette Midler and Stevie Nicks.

the Pointer Sisters in forties finery

the Pointer Sisters in forties finery

The late 70’s early 80’s also gave us punk, ska and New Wave. Vintage clothes were a big part of that style.

In women’s clothes, there was a 1950’s feel with crinolines, bustiers, and bubble skirts, mixed with a tumble of jewelry, gloves and lace, much like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. At the same time, groups like the B52’s more directly borrowed vintage looks.

B52s vintage style

B52s vintage style

For men of this era, skinny ties and porkpie hats gave a throwback feel to their style.

ska fashion

Ska fashion

Singers continue to use vintage clothes to echo what they are doing musically. The branch of music that evolved into alt country and rockabilly borrowed both a musical and sartorial sensibility from the past..

kd lang in vintage cowgirl get up

kd lang in vintage westernwear

For men in music, wearing vintage pieces has become part of a persona having to do with authenticity. Here are two very different musical styles, both using  older clothing to express the relationship between their music and a previous era.

Tom Waits

Tom Waits in a vintage fedora and coat

Vintage clothing worn by modern women performers can be a way of exploring ideas of femininity and womanliness. Or it can just be fun and  look great. Thanks for that, Jimi!

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