April 13, 2010

Of surprising vintage finds

For a while now, I've endulged in the habit of checking out the stalls, selling second hand clothing and accesoiries, whenever I visit my local market (and the market in The Hague is a big thing, open for business four days a week). Usually, I don't buy anything, or just leather clothes to refashion into bags.
Lately however, at another stall, I've found some things I just couldn't leave there.

First up, two weeks ago, I found this dress. I misses a button and although it didn't have a tag, I knew it would be big for me... But those details! The inside betrays it was hand/home made, it's made from is lovely cherry pink wool crepe with a matching lining. Handmade covered buttons with tiny sew-on snaps between them, to keep the gaps closed. Immaculate bound buttonholes with very narrow welts... And did I tell you it was on the '1 euro' rack? Probably because of the missing button.
At home, I put it on anyway.

I found to my surprise that although the lady for whom this dress was made must have had a fuller figure than yours truly, she must also have had about the exact same height and frame. Bust darts and waist shaping are all in the right place for me, and the shoulders (a lovely half-raglan shape) are only a bit wide, no doubt owing to the overall size difference. So I thought that maybe, if I wear it with a contrasting belt... It's not the greatest picture, but what do you think?

At the same visit, I also found this handbag. Small, slightly dented, great shape, thick beige leather on the outside, black plastic inside, ingeneous closure, same at front and back and 4 euros. The look seems 60's to me but it has no tag and I know there were loads of futuristically shaped bags in the 50's already and there have been revival styles ever since. I just had to buy that too.

Now, this week, I was at the stall again and I fear the seller, a very nice lady of about 60 years old, may be on to my great weakness: I will buy anything which has great vintage-y details and costs 5 euros or less.

This coat caught my eye because of its great seaming. It didn't photograph well, but I'll discribe it to you: the sleeves are set-in at front, but cut-on at the back, the seams in which the pockets are, are in fact the only ones in the entire coat, branching out to meet the set-in sleeve and to form a bust dart.

On closer inspection, it also had these great buttonholes. Yep, those are blind bound buttonholes, with bound slits to help you use them. It turned out to cost 5 euros.
It is a bit big on me and looks rather austere. On the other hand, don't you think it reminds one of those classic Balenciaga 'barrel' coats?

Further proof of my new addiction, if any was needed, was my final purchase. I've had 'a thing' for hats for years now. It's not that I wear them a lot, but I own several hats and I just love them. Maybe it's what I get because I never shop for clothes anymore...

I had seen this hat before, but I had restrained myself and had not asked for its price. Now I did. It was 5 euros. It's a black straw hat with black ribbon. To me, the shape seems 50's, but again, I may be wrong. It's fairly small, but I think it was meant to be worn like this, high on one's head. I may never wear this baby, but I just love it.

With all these items, if you've got any idea about their date and the overall style they belong to, I'd love to know. And anyway, is it just me suddenly going crazy over buying vintage? I guess altering the clothes could be an option, but somehow I feel like that would spoil what I love about them... Do I need more restraint or some enabling?? ;)


  1. I love finding handmade clothes at the thrift shop!
    I say go ahead and alter them. The person who originally made the item would probably love to think that someone was wearing it and loving it--- and I think that sewing it to fit you perfectly pays tribute to the original seamstress.

  2. I echo what Trisha said.

    I'm in unbelievable awe of the items you picked up! 1E for that dress? Those amazing buttonholes on the barrel jacket?

  3. I've never commented before but have been reading your blog for a while. Honestly, that red dress is the most stunning and attractive thing you've presented since I've been reading. You should take more risks with color and print...your craft is amazing but your color choices often seem depressing to me. Perhaps it's the lighting in the photos but you look just amazing in the red dress. The hat also looks phenomenal. You have the figure to wear high fashion and should push your looks to be more vibrant and attention-getting. That said, I also have twelve pairs of black pants and a million gray or black sweaters. So I guess I know what it's like...

  4. The hat is spectacular! So Audrey Hepburn. Someone stored that hat well (a rarity for vintage straw) and didn't wear it too much--it's a special occasion hat for certain.

  5. Loving all of these styles but especially that hat. It totally suits you!! Cherrie

  6. I think that you must have been very, very good lately, and the gods of all thrifty vintage finds are smiling on you. The hat is darling!

  7. Wow, you've had an incredibly successful shopping trip!! Your finds look great. It's a pity you don't see bound buttonholes in RTW anymore, and I have to confess I've never attempted sewing them myself either, perhaps a new challenge to overcome?

  8. holy cow! Great finds!

    (how did you fix the missing button problem, anyway? Move the top one down and just leave the top open a bit? or did you just cover it with the belt?)

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  10. Fantastic finds. I say go ahead and alter. Pretty things should be on display to share with everyone.
    If you don't alter you may never wear them.