For years, I've been making visits to my favorite vintage store and I never fail to emerge without another piece I've fallen in love with and had to take home with me. This week, I finally had time to make another trip into the treasure trove that is In Your Wildest Dreams Antiques and Consignments, and do a bit more thorough photo-shoot/interview of the lovely women who share my love of all things NOT of this era. I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile, and when the ladies were so receptive of my idea, I couldn't wait to share what I found with my blog-friends. So, here it is, a little peak into another world from the past that's no longer just in your dreams:
Living in the smallish, central California town of Bakersfield, "vintage," "Hollywood glam," "mod," or "urban," are labels that usually don't enter your mind. Ah, but then you haven't wandered into this hidden gem and spoken to Alex VanSickel and Alissa Stephens, the vintage-experts working behind the counters of In Your Wildest Dreams who answered some questions I had for them with rather brilliant things I never even thought about!
Why would you choose a vintage piece over a new one? Alissa: "There’s more history to a vintage piece than a new one; their timeless, the material is higher quality, every piece is super unique, and it’s as if you’re wearing a story."
How do you make a vintage outfit work in today’s world and still look up-to-date? Alex: "Wear whatever you've chosen with confidence." Alissa: "That's true, Alex picks out the ugliest, 80's piece from the racks and she comes in the next day looking so adorable because she's confident about her choice. Know your own style, and wear it with a sense of pride because vintage pieces are finds, you have to really look around to find good pieces."
What should you look for when buying vintage clothing? Alissa: "Look for labels, in-tact seams, and most importantly, waists that fit you. Most vintage pieces run small since up until the 1960's, women were wearing corsets."(duh! why didn't I think of that, I thought. Everytime I try on vintage things I'm always slightly horrified at how tiny the waists are...of course! I completely forgot the ladies of the past had a little extra assistance in the waist-department.)
Whose your fashion muse? Alissa: "Dita Von Teese Alex: *with a laugh* "The 80's band, Dynasty."
Favorite fashion era: Alissa: "The 30s to 1964, I like the corseted waist-look." Alex: "The 80's!"
Hardest vintage find: Alissa: "Probably pants, jeans, casual wear, or lingerie." I commented that I always feel like I need someplace to go when I wear vintage because the pieces are so dressy. Alissa suggested the best way to do casual-vintage is to pair a 1950's style blouse with a modern pair of jeans or cigarette pants. It's also a great way to keep old things feeling fresh.
What made you fall in love with vintage? Alissa: "Probably when I started sewing (she makes corsets!). It’s easier to see how an older item was made because the construction was so much better, and the seaming is flawless. Plus, building a wardrobe with vintage pieces is sort of a process of self-creation, you create an image from scratch from the pieces you find instead of copying a model from an ad. And, it's sexy!"
Men respond more to elegance rather than the current trends. If you’re doing a pin-up girl vibe, even though you’re covered up, it’s weird, but men find it way more attractive than the super short things.
I almost fell down and kissed her feet when she said that. That's the whole reason I started my blog, I almost screamed in excitement! To show that classic femininity still has some serious power in today's world! I settled on a vigorous nod of agreement and a huge smile as I wrote down her quote instead...no need to scare off a new kindred spirit just when you've made the acquaintance.
Where are the best places to shop for vintage clothing? Alex: "Bakersfield is actually one of my favorites! You wouldn't think it's true, but small cities are better for vintage finds. Alissa: "She's right, in big cities like Los Angeles, vintage items are constantly being traded, worn, and resold. In smaller cities it’s easier to find pieces that have sometimes been cared for by the original owners. And if you look in non-touristy towns, you'll also find the cheapest prices." As she said this, Alissa showed me her beaded, vintage black cardigan she was wearing. She said it had the same owner for forty years when she found it, and she was right, it was nearly flawless and super-cute. Who would of thought? Bakersfield, or maybe I should say, In Your Wildest Dreams, is something of a vintage Mecca.
And finally, just for fun, would you ever consider buying/wearing a vintage wedding dress? Alissa: "I have!" Alex: "Definitely. Even vintage gowns that weren't intended to be a wedding gown can look fantastic because they're so exquisite."Finds from Your Wildest Dreams:
Yet again, I found some adorable pieces as I ran around snapping photos for this blog-spread: A 60's era mod dress, some adorable scarves with great colors and vintage fabrics with nary a tear in sight, some wintery skirts I thought would be so classy to wear to a Christmas party, and even a full-length gown that could be paired with a modern, tailored jacket and heels for a seamless blend of vintage and new:
The detail and fit is what I love the most about these pieces. You couldn't walk into a store today and find things with the beading and tailoring that these items have. And of course, I'm always a sucker for a 1950's clutch or handbag with a snap:
When I saw this little lace coat, I instantly thought of Doris Day in the movie That Touch of Mink. She wore a green-tinted lace housecoat just like this when she goes to Bermuda with Cary Grant. I think this coat is actually meant for outdoor wear, but I would definitely wear it as a sweet little overcoat for my pajamas. It's finds like these that keep me dreaming about the next thing I'll find at In Your Wildest Dreams:
I'm so thankful to the ladies at the store for letting me quiz them and run around squealing and taking photos of my favorite pieces. If you're local, I'm certain you'll fall in love with this place, and if you're not, take these tips to your own treasure trove. As Alissa put it best, the vintage "process of self-creation" is one you can't get just by heading to the mall. Happy hunting!
- <3 A.
(If you're a lover of vintage things, follow and read along with my blog Vintage Muse Modern Views, there's everything from relationship advice, DIY's, recipes, fashion tips, and home decorating tips for the mdoern girl seeking to implement a little vintage into today's world)