Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I dream of vintage...

The way some people dream of Prada or Laboutin. I stalk Frye campus boots, Gunne Sax prairie dresses and suede satchels. Ebay and Etsy are on my bookmarks bar.

My sister posing in a maxi dress with rhinestone applique "belt," riding boots and saddle bag.

I think that my mother is to blame, at least partly. Prone to phases, she spent a summer or two haunting estate auctions in search of Victorian-era petticoats. Often these came in cast-off boxes that would sell for $20 or so — a "take this whole lot of crap and toss what you don't want so we don't have to" gesture by the auctioneer. Those boxes held treasures: Musty National Geographic and Life magazines, yellowed lace, one time some faded porn, once a wooden ammunition case that I still have.

But to a kid, those bits of Victorian clothing were a revelation. Cracked leather shoes with curved heels and rows of buttons, the footbed so narrow even my elementry school foot couldn't fit. Crotchless pantaloons for necessity rather than titillation, frilly camisols and occasionally a rusting organza skirt.

I quickly learned that I liked clothing with a past, a story to tell. For me, it's not Victorian (though I love a period film). I'm all about the 70s, possibly because it was the golden era of rock music and, as a music writer, I'm endlessly thrilled by everything from California country rock to disco. It's also when I was born. Yeah, I came of age in the 80s, but the 70s are, for me, the halcyon days of innocence and apple orchards and endlessly long summers.

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