Friday, December 26, 2014

Vintage? This Way Please

A few days ago, I stopped by my local Goodwill just because we were in the neighborhood and I have not checked them out for a long while, and guess what happened... They had just restocked their dresses rack, and I found so many beautiful dresses in perfect or nearly perfect condition from the 1980s and I think from the 1970s and even earlier, though I am definitely no expert and can't say whether a couple of dresses were originally 1970s or they were made from vintage fabric recently. It's hard to tell when you are clueless. There were also a couple of modern dresses (one was a designer label for a department store), really pretty! The problem is... I don't fit any of them. I love them, but I can't wear them. On the other hand, I could not leave them behind either. It is extremely rare that I find any vintage clothes, and since it came in the form of a beautiful mini-collection, literally falling into my laps, gosh I just couldn't leave them. I had a little money and decided to buy those of them I especially liked. I was surprised that Anna expressed interest in one dress (the oldest of the bunch, with tons of wonderful details). I don't know what I'll end up doing - I'm contemplating selling them on one of the marketplace sites - I used to sell on ebay a little, though it was ages ago. We'll see.

The only one thing that fits me is this vintage skirt which is probably from the 1980s, maybe earlier judging by the style. It's Frank Usher, made in England. It's a little big for me, but I was curious to style and wear a vintage piece, so I just belted it - it works since I am wearing a loose layer over it. Anyway, this all is new to me in so many ways... I wanted to wear another skirt with this outfit, but I thought that I'd give this vintage one a go for our family walkabout in downtown Tacoma today. I have these cravings from time to time when I feel like wearing only truly unique clothes. Not just okay kind of designs, but truly wonderful, and if not one of a kind, then at least something interesting and less common. When I feel like it, I always think of either making my own clothes (which I did many years ago and was pretty good at it, actually), or shop thrift shops mainly. The problem is, for whatever reason, I just don't find many pieces that I like which fit me. Such a bummer.

This little purse is another find from the same Goodwill, and both the skirt and the bag were $5.99 each. I was attracted to the color of this bag and its handy shape and size, and noticed how well the hardware was done (something I really appreciate in purses). I already decided to get it, and just out of curiosity asked Justin to Google the brand name. As it happens, a new version of this purse runs for about $400. I am not a snob about brand names at all, and I would never even consider purchasing a purse that expensive (I don't think I have anything that expensive in my wardrobe, to tell the truth). But it was interesting to learn what kind of things you can find in a regular thrift shop. The leather shows some wear (which I actually love), but otherwise it's in perfect condition.

As I looked back at my pictures tonight, I thought that I probably went against all the rules in this outfit. But I liked what I created - it was spontaneous, and I probably won't wear this outfit again, but it actually was fun to stroll in town in such unexpected attire today. Only later I realized that I subconsciously (or unconsciously?) was inspired by some of my most beloved blogs - I'm sure you all know these talented, warm, witty, wonderful ladies. Before I wrote this post, I went back to their blogs and found some photos which inspired me in the past, and then I sort of internalized the information and forgot about it, do you know how it happens? You know what strikes me - if you Google poncho outfits (go on, Google right away), the vast majority of them will be with pants, not so many dresses or skirts. And when you see all of them at once, no matter how unique the poncho itself is, it sort of becomes a uniform look, you know? I really wanted to see how other women wear ponchos with skirts, and found only a couple in my search. So that's when I thought of my dearest blogging friends and searched their blogs. Now if you are looking for a more feminine (and vintage!) poncho inspiration, do check these amazing blogs out!

Beautiful Beate

Gorgeous Curtise

Fantastic Vix

The rest of my outfit is familiar to you - I still love my burnt orange coat, and I had a good fun wearing my new accessory - the floppy wool hat. Every girl has to have one in her wardrobe - now I am convinced!

Skirt and purse - thrifted (Goodwill)
Coat - Land's End
Poncho - Chico's (few years old)
Hat - Lane Bryant
Boots - Aquatalia
Ring - Justin's gift (jewelry boutique in Gig Harbor)
Earrings - Russian enamel and filigree (years ago on ebay) 



  1. I like design of this poncho, Natalia: in front it looks kind of like a sweater, from behind it looks like a shawl thrown over shoulders. The pattern is also very nice. And along with the vintage skirt the overall look is very warm and feminine.

    1. I like the way you see and describe this poncho, Olga, I also think it's quite an unusual piece. Chico's does come up with some cool designs - affordable and pretty good quality too, I really like them. :)

  2. Great bunch of friends, dear Natalia.
    Digging your skirt.
    Much love

    1. I actually thought of you when I found it, Sacramento! I wonder how you'd style it, dear friend. :)

  3. You look so cool Natalia. I love ponchos. They always take an outfit to another level. I love Vix and Beate. Will check Cutise out. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. xoxo

    1. Thank you thank you, Elsie! We had such a wonderful Xmas this year - one of best actually. :) I hope you too!

  4. I love this look! Well, how could I fail to like it, it has 1970s cosy winter glamour written all over it! My guess is that the Frank Usher skirt is from the 70s, the colour and the knit fabric suggest that to me, and look how perfectly it works with a poncho and floppy hat, so typical of that era.
    Ahh, I feel for you, finding a gorgeous haul of vintage frocks which don't fit; most of the vintage clothing recently donated to my charity shop was too small for me, hence selling most of it on (I've just taken the money I got from the Ebay sales into the shop, and they are delighted! So some good came of my disappointment...)
    Thanks for including my photo, Natalia - I am honoured to be in the company of you, Beate and Vix, gorgeous women all!
    Hope you have had a lovely Christmas, my dear friend! xxx

    1. You wear ponchos and capes so well, Curtise - it was hard to pick just one photo from all of yours. :) I trust your expertise very much! I did a little research online and found a couple of pieces by this label with a similar feel, and the sellers claimed it was from 1970s. This skirt has a little mending to do around the waste, otherwise in great condition - no tears at all which is amazing for a knitwear of this age. I am so glad that you worked out a system which suits both you and your shop - it's really wonderful that everyone somehow benefits from your love of vintage, dear Curtise!

  5. Did you get my comment? Somehow I think they're getting eaten up while I'm trying to post them.....

  6. Oh you do look so fabulous!! I love the poncho and of course you are right, the other ladies are also looking so fantabulous in theirs. The skirt is great too and I love everything about it-the style, the colour, the narrow pleats and the pattern. It looks like something I would have worn in my previous more professional life. Actually I would probably have worn it in high school too. You must have had so many admirers as you walked about Tacoma! The purse was a great find too! I don't see real leather ones in the thrift shops too often. I am on the hunt for a grey or taupe leather bag but it has to have very long straps.

    While I have done a great deal of experimenting with thrift shop/second hand clothing, having finally come home to my true natural style and colours, I must admit I do not readily find things second hand that fit all my criteria of fit, fabric, style and colour preferences. Abundance and experimentation has been fun but at this point I am ready to settle into a smaller selection of the tried and true. I am having success selling the better quality items, donating the lesser quality to charity and sometimes dyeing or altering things. Bleaching black often brings on a beautiful deep brown which I am happier with too.

    You look so vibrant and lovely, you really are a sight for sore eyes, dear friend.
    Love and hugs!

    1. Shawna, I am so happy to "see" you! :) As always, you made me smile and feel warm and cozy with such a warm generous comment. You know I always am surprised when I notice people noticing me. Why do they look at me? - is my first reaction. But then I see my photos and think to myself, oh yes, if I saw such a person on the streets, I'd look at her too! :))) I like how expressive this outfit is, even though far from poifect (what's poifect anyway?). You are at another chapter of your style/fashion life at this point, and it's wonderful that you found a peace of mind, and have a good success alterating, selling, donating... I've got a couple of bags which are waiting for sorting out, but still don't have any interest to do so. It'll come. :)

  7. Thanks for dropping by at my blog! Every now and then when the charity shops have their reduced prices that kind of cheap find like my tartan skirt might pop up. Your pretty cardigan also reminded me of my cardi :D I love fair isle style, designs are always so pretty.
    I really like your outfit on this post too. I think there is no rules when it comes on clothes. You wear what ever you feel like, no matter what any clothing guides or other people say. I think you created lovely ensemble with that new knit skirt. It seems to go well with both: the coat and the poncho.
    If you want help on timing those vintage garments, just let me know. I have some experience on them. But atleast I can tell you this much: usually in older clothes there's no plastic zippers and zippers are on the side seams when clothing is 50 or older. There is also not invisible zips in old clothes. If the garment is really old, there is no zip at all but just snap buttons or buttons on the side seam or front. The older the garment is, the more likely it is to have zigzagged or handsewn seam allowances. Overlock/serging didn't come popular on vintage garment until 50's or 60's, however this varies in different countries. They started doing that a bit earlier in American than Europe. Also if the garment has labels it's possible to check the labels for example from Vintage Fashion Guild to find out approximately when that garment was made.

    1. Thank you so much, Rhia, for your knowledgeable and detailed answer! Two of the dresses have no labels on them, and while they have lots of hand stitching and zigzag, they also have modern zippers which suggest to me that either they are authentic vintage pieces which got modern zippers lately for the ease of getting in and out of the dresses, OR some talented seamstress (much like yourself!) created these dresses from vintage fabrics and using a lot of vintage techniques. I would love to have an expert opinion on that. I could take photos of these two dresses and post them some time on my blog.

    2. It is possible that the zips got replaced, or that they were made later but to imitate the vintage style. Either way, good quality is always good find, no matter when it was made. I'm happy to have a look at the photos, when ever you feel like posting them in the blog.

  8. Hi Natalia and Happy New Year. Well, the outfit is interesting, but not in an odd way. It's an eclectic mix that somehow works. I'm not really a poncho girl, but the design of yours leans into the sweater category. I like how you layered this look. It reminds me of the 70s. Perhaps because of the hat. Nonetheless, I dig it!

  9. That's a fabulous outfit. Frank Usher's 1960s and 1970s pieces are gorgeous and well worth snapping up. The poncho looks brilliant and the floppy hippy hat the icing on the cake. I'm honoured to be included along with you three fabulous ladies! Thank you.
    It must be frustrating not to find vintage gems in your size very often which can only make discovering the right piece thrilling.
    As a life long collector I can sniff out a vintage piece from yards away. There's the obvious clues like overlocked seams and plastic zips but even these aren't hard and fast rules. Plastic zips were occasionally used in clothes as far back as the 1930s and over locking wasn't unheard of in dresses from the 1950s. Take photos of the clothes inside out, close-ups of the fastenings and any labels and care instructions if you decide to sell them on line, that way the buyers can make their own minds up. xxxx

  10. thank you for including me here! i feel honored!!!
    wonderful look! love that skirt, especially the color. you look so fabulous!
    i missed a few posts while traveling in silesia - but i catch up and i must say that your vintage-y polka dot dress ensemble is very cool - something i like to wear every day. the flower by your friend is a stunner!
    love! xxxx
    p.s.: we finally have snow :-)

  11. oh yes, that happens to me too!, when I find something lovely, it doesn't fit me anyway!, (and vice versa), but I stay rummaging some local consignment and charity shops!
    Lovely outfit, and really original and genuine style. Love particularly your hat, and that poncho!!, and obviously, I adore your coat, it's great to wear such a cute color in winter!!

  12. Loving the floppy hat, vintage skirt and poncho. Very boho chic.

    We are thinking of having a blogger meet-up in the 2015 around the Vancouver you think you might be interested? We haven't decided for sure on Vancouver or Seattle yet. I wrote a bit about it in the post I did on my blog meet-up with Melanie and Sue. I know we'd all love to meet you : )


  13. Wow, Natalia,
    I am in love with that outfit. The skirt is fab, like a fairisle trim on the bottom, looks wonderfully nordic and timeless.
    I love the combinations of textures with the cabled poncho and the black underneath to give it some grounding,
    What a perfect blue bag- love the shade!
    When you put together outfits like this it is very exciting , the creative process, itself, and the idea, that on one else in the world will be wearing it.
    You know how i love to shop second hand. I am always astounded at why I find. I do much better at consignment
    stores, they have a better selection in my size, and the prices are right!
    I hope you had a very Merry, and that you are getting festive for the New Year!
    xx, Elle

  14. Oh my goodness Natalia. You've brought back some treasured memories. I had a couple of ponchos when I was young, hand made, of course. I just remember them as being so cozy!!! And you've captured that cozy feeling!

    And is that a Dale Chihuly piece behind you? It's gorgeous, as are you!

  15. A really terrific outfit, dearest Natalia...pairing your "new" vintage knit skirt with this fringy poncho was a marvellous idea!! And that thrifted blue bag is definitely a little treasure; love the pretty colour - so on trend! - and the wonderful detail in the stitching!! Have a healthy and very Happy New Year!! XOXO

  16. Thanks for the inspo! I love vintage clothes and wish there were more vintage stores in my city. You look great in that skirt and poncho. Happy Holidays!

    Jasmine xx

  17. That whole outfit just looks fabulous, how exciting to find some real vintage clothing in the thrift store and great your daughter likes one of the pieces. xx

  18. First i like your outfit and liked it that it was a spontaneous, this is when the best outfits are put together, when you don't think about it too much and go with your instinct - I guess it's like art?
    My best and craziest outfits t have no logic at all!
    It happened to me to often to find gorgeous vintage that don't fit but i buy anyway. How can you resist, i ask you
    They are usually one of a kind special treasures.
    So happy that you daughter showed an interest in one of the dress -

    Happy New Year Natalia

  19. I really love the way your new found skirt works so well with the poncho and the bag , both great finds. Pity about the other items but so glad your daughter took an interest in one.Don`t worry about any so called rules, the best outfits always break them.Wishing you and your family a safe and happy New Year.