Thursday, January 31, 2008

finally added to site....Philip Hulitar gown

Took longer than it should have to make this gorgeous gown available, but it finally is added to the SITE. Gorgeous champagne silk with a stunning sequin, rhinestone and colored jewel encrusted strapless bodice by PHILIP HULITAR (click link to read about him on the VFG, Vintage Fashion Guild). I did a swell polyvore of it too!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

shoe in.

Just added to the website, 2 pairs of shoes that surprised me as I first thought these black ones to be 40s...

But the shape of the heel is the tip off.....not 40s, but a 70s design based on 40s. The upshot there is they are a solid size 7 1/2! This gold pair I knew were 70s but hadn't sized them.....perfect 7! So both fit me, but if you saw my shoe collection you would understand my (reluctant) willingness to part with them.

Not sure how to work vintage shoes into your wardrobe, or looking for a way to make them a little edgier? Try anklet socks in wild prints, inspired by Anna Sui's use of them in her '08 Spring Collection runway show....

No one's more surprised that I like that than me.


Monday, January 28, 2008

the mighty empire

I love this dress, and being as honest as I can be.....I dont know why I still have it. A Mike Benet no less, in draping luxe jersey knit....

See? People love it. Marcia Cross loves it, and as a sexy Desperate Housewife, we should all take a cue from her and embrace the empire waist gown with saucy applique at the decollatage.

Thats a great dress. The other flowery one....meh. But the empire? Fabulous!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Non Vintage.....Missing My Hobbes.

Was going through my old MySpace blogs looking for something and found the entry I posted the day my cat, Hobbes, died in 2006. In memoriam....

22 Sep 2006

Lost a Best Friend Today.

My charming, sweet puppy-cat Hobbes Asland passed away this morning at 15 years old. He was a gentleman among cats.....kind, calm & affectionate in ways not seen often in the feline realm. He loved much so he would jump in the shower with me, or in the bathtub while it was still 1/4 full. He slept next to my head on my pillow every night (and as a large boy, often leaving me with a mean-ass crick in my neck for making room for him). He loved to drink water from a running faucet & was generous with kitty-licks & paw-touches. He was a divine, noble Hobbes (Bob, Hobgoblin, Hobnobber, Robert, Hobbinator). Its been a hell of a battle this last month but when you said it was time to go, despite my broken heart I knew I had to let you. Rest in peace, gentle tabby. I'll love you always. I'll still turn on the faucet for you. Ang

Its more than I want to go into to explain why the song Summer Wind by Sinatra ended up tied up in my memory of losing Hobbes, but it did, and in honor I added it to the playlist. And please click the image of Hobbes to learn more about the Iowa State Veterinary Hospital....and incredible place with a superb, compassionate and kind staff who were trendously kind to Hobbes and I when he was ill and when he passed away. Donate if you can. Miss you, Bob.


Monroe, Harlow & Dior's "New Look". The Facts.

Because truly, it is driving me crazy seeing vintage sellers continually misinforming their customers. Sellers, primarily on eBay, have been perpetuating a disturbing trend when it comes to their listings....aside from the obviousness of using the names of glamorous movie stars to manipulate eBay's search, they are also misleading their customers. The phrase "I would not be surprised if Marilyn Monroe wore something just like this dress back in the chic New Look Era!" (or other times Jean Harlow, as these phrases used by literally scads of sellers now are templated and a few words switched now and then for a little variety) is mind-blowingly insulting to anyone who knows a whit about vintage fashion history, Marilyn OR Jean Harlow.

Lets discuss New Look. The "New Look" these sellers refer to was a revolution in fashion introduced in 1947 by Christian Dior as a return to femininity. The war was over, rationing of textiles had ended, the fashion world was back in full swing and women no longer struggling in a Rosie the Riveter role were ready to focus on their wardrobes. The straight skirts were replaced with billowing full skirts emphasizing a wasp-like, tapered waistline. It was an extreme look, and its peak lasted only into the very early 50s....while full skirts supported by crinolines stayed in vogue until the 60s, the extreme lines of the New Look softened. Dior's New Look circa 1947....

With that, lets look at Jean Harlow. Jean was born on March 3, 1911 and tragically passed away at a very young age on June 7 of 1937. 1937 being 10 years before Dior introduced the New Look. Harlow, aside from not even being ALIVE during the New Look Era, was known for her clingy, draping, bias cut evening gowns.....about as far removed from the concept of the New Look as one can get.

Marilyn. Undisputedly an icon when it comes to glamour, a bombshell, a classic pin-up. Its no wonder she and Harlow are invoked when it comes to describing vintage apparel and the images associated with it. Marilyn was one of the best dressed actresses in Hollywood in the 50's and 60's.....

But again, not typically seen in a full skirt with crinolines. Indeed, if one pays little attention to the subway grate scene in The Seven Year Itch, one could be lead to believe she's wearing a HUGE full skirt. But it was not, and it was not Marilyn's style to wear things that weren't fitted top to bottom, curve conscious and snug. Got a wiggle dress? Very Marilyn. But very much NOT New Look.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Shameless Self-Promo Friday! ROCKABILLY Dresses~

My apologies for the self-absorbed approach today, but A) I'm rushed and B) these dresses are great whomever is selling them! I can't take credit for much aside from finding them....someone else designed them, someone else saved them for 50 plus years. Its half luck and half hard work I've got them now, cleaned and photgraphed and available to you!

Viva Las Vegas, aka VLV, is coming up and whether you're going or not, few things are more fun to wear for summer events than a 50s dress! My personal favorite, this is a two piece (wear together or separately....halter with pencil skirt, skirt with cami) set creating the best rockabilly dress ever! Soft yellow lightly textured cotton with all over print of grey poodles sporting bright turquoise ribbon bows....halter bodice is studded with rhinestones!

Perky red sundress with ruched bodice and set in waist features a white atomic starburst print and huge full skirt....

More red....this piece has flame shaped appliques on red and white polka dot skirt, same flame shapes are cut out to create a sizzling neckline!

Certainly a look that goes hand-in-hand with the rockabilly lifestyle is the tiki girl look. Vintage Hawaiiana is much harder to find on the mainland than the 50s sundress! This 50s Hawaiian dress is as crisp and new as if it was never worn, a great size and by the renowned ALFRED SHAHEEN.....

Lastly, if the full skirt isn't for you and you want a little more va-va-voom, go for the wiggle dress! This sarong style 50s dress by NANI OF HAWAII adds a little sizzle to your summer wardrobe....fitted top to bottom, faux sarong style skirt and unique neckline....beautiful floral print of hibiscus in sunset hues...

No matter how cold it may be, summer is coming. Be ready to wear vintage year round!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Give 'em the Slip

This is not a dress.

I'm a faithful fan of GO FUG YOURSELF, and as I perused the recent fugs, spotted this ensemble on actress (?) Bijou Phillips. I reiterate. Not a dress, however, it IS vintage. There is no mistaking that color, that silk....definitely a vintage nightgown. Which leads me to this. If you're going to work the lingerie as clothing angle (a la Courtney Love circa 1992), pick something pretty!! On my website, brand new no less! 30s floral nightgown with blue ribbon accents....

Fabulous with a sweet little sweater and maybe some bright 40s heels. NOT fabulous with black tights and odd, white orthopedic looking shoes. No.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Elvis Wear

BILL BELEW, a costumer designer for Elvis Presley, passed away this month......and whether you see Elvis's Vegas wardrobe as gaudy or fabulous, the entertainment and fashion industry has lost a major player. Belew first designed the black leather suit Elvis wore in the 1968 "Comeback Special" & his work was an instant hit with both Elvis and his fans.

Belew also designed for such greats as the Jacksons, the Osmonds, Gloria Estefan and Ella Fitzgerald. His passing came one day before what would have been Elvis's 73rd birthday.

While few looks will ever achieve the man-sexy level the black leather suit did on Elvis, this rockabilly plaid 60s dinner jacket certainly offers its own version of stage-presence-chic. From DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE on eBay....the perfect jacket for rockabilly events such as the upcoming VIVA LAS VEGAS.....

Coolest label, ever.

A little bit young Elvis, a little bit Jerry Lee...a whole lotta rock n' roll style. Click pictures to get to listing.

And thanks, Jody, for alerting me to the loss of Bill Belew via her blog for the VINTAGE FASHION GUILD.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Diamond in the Ruff

Catch Project Runway this past week? my first time, sad to say, but now I’m hooked. what a way to start! an avant garde challenge!!! Loved the winners creation........

Want the look at a fraction of the price (yeah, they spent $300, but real-world couture like that would cost a fortune). check out this scarf onETSY from designer COCCOLE DI LANA.....

clearly inspired by the Edwardian ruff....

And those kids thought they were doing something new.........


Friday, January 18, 2008

Hand Made and Haute

I've had this wonderful collection of hand made sweaters from a local estate purchased last year waiting here patiently for me to take pictures and get them added to the website....and once I got them shot, I can't believe I waited!

Each sweater had been designed, hand knitted and lovingly tucked away, still pinned at the plackets and folded neatly into boxes. Each sweater boasts Deena's custom made label, DEENA HAND KNITS. The sweaters appear to have been created in the late 60s to early 70s...and each one is unique, superbly created and as if brand new.

Available now on the website, click to see the collection. One of my favorites, clearly Chanel inspired in its black accented in shimmering gold and classic lines....

A swing cut jacket style sweater in bold red with primary colored flecks....

Don't miss the rest of the collection, more to come!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Skirting the Issue

My apologies to you if you have awoken to near Arctic conditions, as I have here in Iowa, for even daring to suggest wearing a skirt today!

While it feels as if I'm screaming into (the Arctic) wind, my goal this month is still to tout the value of the vintage separate. The skirt is perhaps one of the easiest ways to add some vintage edge to a wardrobe without commiting wholly to an entire "look". If your personality is a little quirky and outgoing, nothing better suited to it than a novelty print 50s skirt! Not at all necessary to pair with a crinoline as many sellers show online, these skirts look modern and fresh worn without and accented with a simple fitted tee or snug, slimming sweater to counter-balance the fullness of the skirt.

In an amazing collection shown on IMAGE EVENT by collector Cathy Gordon, this skirt epitomizes the kitsch and color found in a 50s circle skirt.

Cats too cute? Go for bold, dramatic color....a skirt perfect all year round worn with simple accessories and brightly colored flats. A superb poppy print by the coveted ASSOCIATED AMERICAN ARTISTS, this skirt is available now on eBay (click picture to get to listing by Cat's Pajamas) for less than you'll pay for an off the rack piece at the Gap....

Why buy vintage when you CAN go to the mall? Because everyone else can go to the mall, too. Don't blend into the crowd!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Girl Stole My Life.

Off topic, as in not at all vintage. Went home over the weekend. My sister took home a handbag for my niece, a cute pink leather bag by Juicy Couture. Made me bitter. Why?

Because the co-founder of Juicy Couture stole my life. I spent YEARS as a teenager supporting John Taylor and Duran Duran with my allowance, dreaming of one day becoming a fashion designer and marrying John Taylor. SHE STOLE MY LIFE!!!!!

End rant.

Saw DD a couple years ago, though, and John was hot.

No link to Juicy, on purpose. Insert cuss words here.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Buttoned Up

Vintage cardigans, as most vintage separates, are a fantastically easy piece to layer into a wardrobe. Tweak them any way you want.....quirky, eclectic, traditional, classic, preppy, punk. This pink cardigan in fuzzy mohair adds texture AND color to an ensemble, from DECADENCE PAST.

This Italian Mohair sweater at DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE is done with a 2 tone effect in shades of grey, has off-center placket and cool lucite buttons.

Hey, if they were cool enough for the king of grunge, they gotta be cool.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Palazzo Perfect

In keeping with a vintage separates theme, I bring you what may well be the most dramatic of the realm.....the palazzo pant. First hitting the fashion scene in the 1930's, typically as part of a loungewear set or beach pyjamas, palazzo pants are defined as pants with VERY wide legs, gently widening as they fall to hem while staying slender toward hips and waist. I recently sold this 4 piece 70's set from the tony boutique SARAH FREDERICKS....

This pattern seemed quite likely to be what the ensemble was based on, from GUY LAROCHE

. While technically a coordinate in this case, the palazzo pant is hardly limited to wearing with a matched set.

Worn as a separate, with a tank or fitted blouse....skinny sweater....cami & jacket, any of the dramatic and elegant palazzo pants below make a serious fashion statement.

From SYDNEY'S VINTAGE CLOTHING (click picture to get to website), this pair mixes a warm colourway with a bold, graphic print....

From MAGS RAGS (click picture to get to website), a pair in perfect purple....

Also at MAG'S, these sweet floral palazzos with matching peasant blouse.....

So put your big pants on and add some drama to your vintage wardrobe!


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Doris Day Glamour & Romantic Homes Magazine Feature....

I'd been asked by the editor of ROMANTIC HOMES MAGAZINE if I had a dress similar to the dress DORIS DAY wears in the dinner scene with ROCK HUDSON in the film PILLOW TALK. I did have a dress I thought was similar and very Doris at that, and emailed back a picture....this being a few months ago. I was told it would be in the February issue and watched the site (which is still showing January's issue as of today). Quite happily surprised to catch the Valentine's Day issue while at the grocery this morning, and there it is!

Its a lovely issue, I highly recommend it (and not just because I'm in it!)


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blouse On.

The vintage blouse. Easily worn dressed up or dressed down, a good handful of cute vintage blouses can make a vintage or modern wardrobe sizzle. Take this blouse, from SOME LIKE IT VINTAGE....

Sexy, stylish and classic! Fantastic worn with a black pencil skirt and modern heels, skinny jeans, high waist trousers. Pop it with some brightly colored accessories and give it your own personal edge! Vintage separates are the perfect way to fill out your closet without breaking the bank.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Cash In Hand

What are the odds? Undoubtedly you'll be shocked to find that I do NOT know everything about every fashion designer who ever sketched a dress on a pad of paper (and anyone who claims they do is lying). I do not indeed, and learn every day. Forcing myself to maintain a blog by writing nearly daily about vintage has definitely broadened my horizons....there's a lot to learn out there! But back to the odds.

After watching (albeit before and after, not during, the ending moments.....WHY have live auctions ending in the middle of the night Central Time??) some vintage designer pieces at auction over the weekend I decided to touch on a coat I'd had my eye on by Bonnie Cashin. From the (fantastically done) website the BONNIE CASHIN FOUNDATION a bit about Bonnie....

"One of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful American fashion designers of the twentieth-century, Bonnie Cashin (1908–2000) was revered for her intellectual, opinionated, and independent approach to ready-to-wear. She designed exclusively for herself and appealed to women who shared her nonconformist attitude, such as clients Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Mary Quant. She worked with companies ranging from Herm├Ęs to American Airlines, and was handpicked for projects as diverse as advising the Indian government on export design and launching Coach as a maker of women's accessories. Through her contagious passion for her work, she crafted a life full of storybook tales of discovery and madcap adventure and became a design icon.

A “nomad by nature,” Cashin grew up in a string of California cities, fascinated by the jostling of Asian and Latin American communities. She adored Chinatowns and fairy tales, and dreamt of becoming a dancer, a painter, or a writer. These early passions – for travel, “ethnic” exoticism, dancing, drawing, and storytelling – combined with her extraordinary design talents and modernist spirit to form a series of creative careers on both American coasts. Prior to her mid-century launch as a “name” on Seventh Avenue, Cashin’s credentials included, but were not limited to, a decade of designing costumes for New York’s “Roxyette” chorus girls, an under-cover assignment to design women’s uniforms for World War II, and a stint in Hollywood designing wardrobes for over sixty films at Twentieth Century-Fox."

Much more on the website, fascinating information and so SO much eye candy! What struck me as odd and totally irrelevant was the mention of both Marlene Dietrich AND the Rockettes, both of whom I have blogged about in the last 2 weeks since deciding to take writing more seriously. Kooky, that.

At any rate, this Bonnie Cashin coat was one of a pair recently auctioned by CLARS AUCTION GALLERY on eBay, and the winner is no doubt thrilled....

Both coats were iconic Cashin....modern, simple lines and an unexpected way of making a rather masculine suede appear quite feminine. I've recently aquired for sale my first Cashin, a bright orange-red leather box bag with her trademark striped fabric lining....available at DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE WEBSITE or locally in my shop....

More about Cashin at the eVintage Society's DESIGNER DATA BASE

Stylish suede! Lovely leathers! Grab a Cashin coat or bag and add some designer flair to your vintage wardrobe.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hope Hall

Without totally exposing the buying habits of a customer, I do want to share a link to the site of a wonderful woman who came in to my shop today (and yesterday) and spent some quality time with my upstairs leasee, Julie of VINTAGE VITAE, a design collective featuring Julie's line, MAGPIE...(which I love, though not officially "vintage", but re-styled vintage pieces that were pieces too far gone to restore and ever so sweetly 30s/40s girlie wonderful!) and myself.

Hope was here in town for the Iowa Caucus to do a film on BARACK OBAMA, who most folks know by now did very well here!

All that aside, she was a delight to work with and (I think) thoroughly enjoyed the shop. If you see her in the future in New York, where she lives, wearing vintage it may be it came from Dorothea's Closet Vintage in Des Moines Iowa! More than anything, I wanted to share her website.....I've had a good look around it and am impressed and moved by her work. She's a wonderful person and infinitely talented. PLEASE go see her WEBSITE and do NOT miss her film short, "This is For Betsy Hall", an incredible homage to her mother addressing her mother's struggle with anorexia and bulemia. I personally was moved to tears....its clear she and her mother share a powerful bond. Hope is a delight and beyond talented. I am honored she spent time in my humble shop and wish her all my best in her endeavors.......


Friday, January 04, 2008

I Got A Pretty Dress.

Coming soon, a GORGEOUS Philip Hulitar 50's gown with exquisite beading and rhinestones....jeweled details in citrine, amethyst & topaz hues on champagne for it on the site!



Thursday, January 03, 2008

Vintage & Politics on Iowa's Caucus Day

Its the big day here in Iowa and the nation seems transfixed on Des Moines. The media are everywhere, the campaign workers out in full calls, flyers, even supporters at my door New Year's Day at 11 AM! Sections of downtown not terribly far from my shop are closed off to allow networks to set up trucks with satellite dishes.....the city is abuzz with activity and anticipation. I snapped this homage to Obama in the snow outside Des Moines University this morning up the street from the shop on my way in....


I'd have liked to take a look at the candidates and their fashion choices but can find surprisingly little about who or what they prefer to wear. I was able to find that Hillary Clinton favors clean lines and classic tailoring and pieces from Donna Karan and St. John Knits, and that while John Edwards & Barack Obama both did photo shoots for Men's Vogue magazine, Hillary declined to do a cover for the women's version. Obama in Vogue HERE & HERE

Barack Obama, too, sports a classic look.....though his suits seem far better tailored to his physique than many of the other candidates. Its generally known that he shuns brightly colored ties for more subtle tones. Edwards is often seen without his suit jacket, a tact likely taken to give the candidate a "working man's" appearance. Bill Richardson's fashion sense is definitely affected by his time spent in the Southwest.....he's often seen, as Edwards, sans jacket but opts for a Western bolo tie rather than the traditional silks the other canditates sport. See Vogue magazine's spread on John Edwards HERE & HERE.

While the shop sits a mere block from Hillary's headquarters here in Des Moines and within a mile of the epicenter of the caucus day's events, the only ties I have so far to the election glitz and glamour comes from a photograph sent to me by a favorite customer, Carol, of herself in a wonderful R&K Orginals 50's dress with full skirt and pintucked detail from the website, seen at a campaign event with contender Barack Obama....

More thoughts on the candidates fashion choices IN THE WASHINGTON POST. I hadn't realized Huckabee lost 100 pounds or that the public's impression of Mitt Romney's hair is that it doesn't move! Interesting read. More on the caucus later!


Leather. Mod.


Vintage leather skirt from DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE, peter pan collar shirt from TOPSHOP, shoes from VIECOUTURE and knit beanie from CLAIRE'S. Outfit created at POLYVORE.COM. A vintage piece that looks just as at home as the modern pieces its mixed with!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dress v. Skirt.....Round 1

.............................Reality. Vintage dresses are hot. Worn on the red carpet by film stars, worn IN films by said film stars, spotted on socialites, fashion designers, the coolest chicks in school....the vintage dress is indeed a celeb in its own right. But what if you love vintage, but can rarely find the right color, fit, silhouette or size? What if you love the dress ever so, but have a lifestyle more suited to jeans and a tee shirt?

Thats where the vintage separate comes in! We'd be fooling ourselves to believe that the average woman of the 50s who indeed DID have a fine array of day, cocktail and evening dresses wore strictly dresses 24/7. Even in looking at patterns, many "dresses" are truly comprised of a skirt and blouse! The skirt is one of the easiest ways to add some vintage to your wardrobe without the fit issues of a dress and investing in a piece more versatile than one. Add a modern thin knit tee shirt to a boldly printed cotton 50s skirt.....a snug sweater to a 40s pencil skirt......a cami with a jersey knit 70s skirt.

Just listed on eBay by TRENDSETTERBLUE, this PIERRE CARDIN skirt....

A great designer piece, perfect with a fitted sweater.....simple lines with a decidedly modern yet vintage feel. From DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE, a skirt similar in style....handmade in yarnwork with faux fur trimmed hem....edgy and chic!

~Grab a funky print skirt and add some vintage to your wardrobe!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


........................All separates 20% off during the month of January at DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE. Blouses, sweaters, tops, skirts, pants, jeans.....30s through 80s! Email for invoice reflecting the sale price. Newly added items as recent as today....a post with images to come when Photobucket cooperates!


SEPARATE BUT EQUAL......The Vintage Separate.

..........When I started selling vintage online 5 years ago, it was just as exciting to find a great 50s circle skirt or beaded cashmere cardigan as it was to find a killer 40's dress. They sold! And it made sense at that....certainly, the price point was betetr for the customer to invest in a separate over a dress. Add to that the versatility a blouse, sweater or skirt adds to a wardrobe as opposed to a single dress and the choice becomes obvious (if, indeed, a choice has to be made!). But as a rule, separates sold as well as dresses over the years.

Lately, the trend seems to be more toward dresses. I love a vintage dress, a vintage gown.....if I didn't, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing! But the lack of interest in separates confounds me. I've even found myself passing over the separates as I select items to take pictures of for the website in favor of dresses (a business decision, often, but the lack of enthusiasm for them seems to have rubbed off on me!).

But no more. Its ludicrous. This month kicks off a Season of Separates at Dorothea's Closet Vintage and in preparation for such an event, I have been steadily building up a selection of separates on the website, some of which are shown below. Click any of the pictures to get to the site and be sure to peruse each decade to find a page of separates.

A Season of Separates....ALL separates 20% off at Dorothea's Closet Vintage! Email to get revised invoicing or pay and email and I will refund the sale difference.

Some great pieces to add into your everyday wardrobe....soft cocoa suede 70's skirt from Saks 5th Avenue, perfect with boots and a sweater...

70's slinky jersey nylon beach scene body shirt....

60s super mod Trekkie meets stewardess top, available in blue too!...

Watch for more thoughts on vintage separates, inspirations for making them work in a vintage or modern wardrobe, links to great finds and more added to the site over the next few weeks!


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