In the last post, I wrote about how much I enjoy learning the backstory of vintage treasures. I like knowing who wore a garment and how it relates to their personal history. I also like placing it in the larger context of what was happening at that time and place.
My most recent large purchase started with the requisite phone call, this time from a neighbor. The story, in brief, involves an elderly couple who need to downsize. Retired writers and teachers, they worked in Japan as journalists in the 1970’s. After 10 years in Asia, the Viet Nam war ended and they returned stateside. They had their belongings shipped to a series of storage units where they left them untouched for over 40 years.
Their clothing was a quirky mix. The man’s wardrobe was that of a dashing, adventurous gentleman, all trench coats, fedoras and fine wing tip shoes.
The lady had her blouses hand tailored in a 70’s career woman style using Japanese fabrics. Her accessories were fashion forward in their day but are quite different than American pieces the same vintage since the styles were interpreted through an Asian lens.
These garments tell stories of two adventurous foreign war correspondents at work and at play. The silky button down shirts in colorful prints, the midi length skirts, mile high wooden platforms and tall Italian leather boots were the wardrobe of a successful career woman, 70’s style. The silky, drape-y separates were the pretty yet packable pieces of a lady reporter in a conflict zone. Those three pairs of pleated high-waisted palazzo pants, that black shawl, and the luxurious hand beaded evening bags were fashionable cocktail clothes worn during late nights at the piano bar sipping cocktails with other expats abroad.
I also like that these pieces will have a second act, becoming part of another person’s narrative.