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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dapper and Dreamy Style - The Second Time Around

One of the dapperest of all...
Being dapper doesn't come cheap.  Well, actually, you wouldn't think it comes cheap but, between you and me, it can be much less expensive than you'd expect.  How?  Smart shopping and lots of luck.

I remember when I was much younger that the idea of going to a thrift store filled me with dread.  The smell, the idea that other people had used, let alone worn, these things was troubling.  As time went on, I started to change my tune.  Starting with books, moving to catchy vintage items, then interesting dishes and glassware, jumping to clothes became easy.  Melissa has always been a clever spotter at such places, able to pull out the best quality at a glance.  Over time, I learned to spy quality in seconds.

I was reminded of this today when I decided to pull out my summer wardrobe.  I had no idea how many great clothes I'd hidden away and found that I had to replace everything in my closet to make way for the new season's togs.  Linen, cotton and very fine wool in seersucker, flannel and jersey - much of it was bought at the end of the last spring and summer seasons at incredibly low clearance prices, or at second hand shops where patience and a clear eye paid off.

Too many pants!  Linen, cotton, wool...
White, khaki...  even seersucker and
red corduroy!
Take shirts as an example.  A few of my favorite brands are Thomas Pink, Brooks Brothers, Faconnable, Banana Republic and J. Crew.  Retail prices for these shirts can range from about $60 and up for Banana Republic, J. Crew and Brooks Brothers, while Thomas Pink and Faconnable prices generally start at around $130 and go up to nearly $200!  Imagine my delight when I can find mint condition examples for around $3.47.  In many cases, my catches have just come from the dry cleaners where they've been left too long and, therefore, donated.  At present count, I have 12 Faconnable shirts alone - that's a huge savings.

Way too many shirts, but at a fraction
of the price...
Jackets and suits, sweaters and coats, even never worn shoes from brands such as Prada, Ferragamo, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew, are also readily available, if you take the time to look.

Some people prefer a vintage look and, often, you can strike gold - especially in women's wear.  Melissa has a large and growing collection of fabulous vintage coats starting from the early 1950's, running through the mid-60's.  Generally made of far better materials than today's clothing, many of these pieces of retro-style are amazing in their ability to translate effortlessly from the world of fifty or more years ago into an up-to-date and modern wardrobe.  Swing coats in bright blue or deep red velvet, warm but stylish gray tweeds, a more formal and fitted long, black silk faille coat and a springy aquamarine cashmere raincoat are just a few examples of the vintage outerwear in her collection.  She's also picked up Chanel and Hermes scarves and Kate Spade bags and shoes.  It's rather nice to appear in marvelous clothing that you know no one else will be wearing.

Vintage style - a fabulous blue
swing coat, like one in Melissa's
winter collection.
 don't know about you, but we love great clothes, and we love vintage and retro finds - clothes, furniture, art, tableware, magazines and records - that add a dash of Technicolor style to our home and life.  We don't want to go back in time, just bring in some of the best things from the past or even the present.  However, we also have to keep an eye on the bottom line.  For us, it's a mix of old and new and, you'd be surprised how many compliments you'll get!

Favorite vintage glasses...  I buy as many as I can, but
have to move quickly because there's another collector out there.

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