Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the Hole Thing

A couple of weeks ago Viktor & Rolf showed their Spring 2010 collection, allowing fashion critics and bloggers world wide to rejoice at finally get to mention Edward Scissorhands in a review. I rather loved it, despite the flack they took for taking things completely over the top (isn't that what runway is for?) and blogged about it HERE. Quite honestly I never expected to see any of those dresses again, so was pleasantly surprised to see on GO FUG YOURSELF that one of those magnificent, mind blowing tulle confections was actually worn in public by a a celebrity....though not surprised that it was KATY PERRY, seen at the MTV Europe Awards. Which I missed, because A) I live in the US and B) MTV is utterly irrelevant. Anyhoo.....

Strange that I like the runway model's make up better. Next time go for a mini with the ta's gnawed off, Katy!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Its Costume Time!

I've recently added these 2 pieces to my shop on ETSY shop, hoping they find a good home where they will be restored and used again for their orginal intent.....as costumes! These pieces were made in the 1920s for stage, this likely for a Shakespearean affair....

And this a more romantic number, again likely mid 1800s...

Perfect for Halloween to wear as is or for stage use!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vintage Blass at the Paperball

The Museum of Arts and Design celebrated its one year "paper anniversary" recently with a star studded gala in New York City with one of a kind artist-designed paper dresses, accessories and product design available for purchase and allowed guests to preview MAD's newly opened paper exhibition, Slash: Paper Under the Knife. In a vintage origami inspired vintage Bill Blass was lovely attendee Rose McGowan....


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dorothea's Closet on Page 1 of the Wall Street Journal!

Read it here!.

I've been lucky enough to have worked with films, cast & crew on films being shot here in Iowa the last year and half, as blogged previously. And now that the program is in jeopardy, the Wall Street Journal came to town to do a story and chatted a bit with me about it! I was slightly disappointed that they didn't print what I said, but the fact remains that this industry is a boon to our economy and I hope things get straightened out soon. A big thanks to the WSJ for the front page mention and for their attention to this story!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Dorothea's Closet Vintage Goes Glossy

This weekend was the big unveiling party for DSM MAGAZINE'S WOMEN'S ISSUE, and Dorothea's Closet Vintage was honored to have contributed to not only the runway event Saturday night (pics as they are available) but also to the fashion spread within this special issue. What resulted was a superb example of how well vintage pieces can serve to add a dash of individuality to a modern wardrobe! Collaborating with local boutiques offering brand new designer pieces, vintage from Dorothea's meshes perfectly.

60s autumnal floral print velvet dress with modern leggings & heels,

Dorothea's vintage necklace and bracelet make perfect accents to modern pieces.

DCV vintage umbrella and boots.

Dorothea's Closet adds a vintage touch with a 70s leotard and 80s fishscale metallic belt.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Honey, I Shaved Your Prom Dress

50s prom dresses get the razor from Viktor & Rolf for Spring 2010, with a mean dash of 80's asymetrical geo shaping. Brilliant.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Its fur season, whether you prefer faux or genuine, and the look this season is far from the ladylike mink stole your grandma wore. The October Vogue takes an edgy approach to traditional pelts.....

We recently shot an 80s foxtail mantle on model Amber Pirillo over a brilliant emerald green 60s cocktail dress, fox mantle available at DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE on the coats page.

Fox fur hat, designed by myself for SUGARLIDS on etsy

1932 2 tone fox stole by Patou (I'd love to see this recreated!)....


Serious Statement Jewelry

"This all started when I was ambassador at the U.N. and Saddam Hussein called me a serpent," she says. "I had this wonderful antique snake pin. So when we were dealing with Iraq, I wore the snake pin."

Turns out you really CAN make a statement with jewelry! Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is making news with the revelation that the brooches she wore when working with foreign leaders and to meetings at the White House were carefully selected to convey her feelings and intents. Take a look at MADELEINE ALBRIGHT'S JEWELRY and listen to the NPR story about the book...excerpts included on the page as well. I'd love to see the whole collection....and I hear it includes a bit of vintage!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hollywood Vintage

Iowa is currently a hot bed of Hollywood activity (I know, who'd have ever thought?). Tax incentives put in place in the last 2 years have been bringing film crews by the dozens to Iowa to shoot....in small towns, cornfields, farm houses and right here in Des Moines. The battle over whether to keep those tax breaks in place at a government level is a topic for another blog, but for small business owners like me it has been not only fantastic for the extra dollars it brings in as well as the attention it brings to the state to draw both tourists and new residents. That said, I hope things get straightened out soon!

As for how its played out in my vintage shop, I've not only worked with wardrobers on films ("Peacock" with Susan Sarandon/Ellen Page which will feature many vintage pieces from my shop, "Fertile Ground" with Leisha Hailey) but also seen a great many cast and crew members come in to do some vintage shopping. The last several weeks have brought in Forrest Whitaker, Leisha Hailey, Amy Smart and Rose McGowan, all fans of vintage! All a delight to work with, and all happy with their experience...so much so that Rose McGowan even talked about it (and other Iowa related experiences) on her TWITTER PAGE! Looking forward to seeing pics of her, Amy & Leisha in their vintage dresses from the shop (and Forrest in his ties!)...

While its been great for me its been great for Iowa as well, so here's hoping Governor Chet Culver gets this back on track!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grey Gardens for the Win

It should come as no surprise to any reader of mine that I was rooting for Grey Gardens to sweep last night's Emmy Awards. Two years ago I was contacted by the wardrober about a few pieces from my website they were interested in using for the film, and when it finally aired on HBO this last Spring I was thrilled to see a 1930s dressing gown I'd sent them appear on Jessica Lange (as Big Edie Beale).

Unfortunately there weren't 2 awards available for best leading actress in a movie, as both Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange gave superb performances as the Beales and both deserved the win. Jessica won and looked stunning in a teal green...

And Drew channeled the young Little Edie in a pale pink 50s inspired gown by MONIQUE LHUILLIER and carried a handbag designed by RAVEN KAUFFMAN, aptly named "Drew" and created after the designer saw Drew play Edie Beale in Grey Gardens.

Lhuillier made quite an impact on the red carpet last night, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was impressed by her vintage inspired romantic designs. Emmy winner Toni Collette in a brighter pink...

And Mila Kunis in a cocktail length deep red Lhuillier...

So many gorgeous dresses. Dorothea's has officially dressed an Emmy winning actress for an Emmy winning film! Thats pretty thrilling to be a part of. And speaking of award winning, I'll be watching today's OPRAH SHOW to see the dress from my website worn by JANUARY JONES' Mom, Karen! Read about it HERE from Sunday's Des Moines Register. Hoping she gets the camera coverage she deserves!


Friday, September 18, 2009


Thanks ever so much to Malie at VINTAGE SHOPPING GUIDE for her blog post about the vintage hats from DOROTHEA'S CLOSET VINTAGE being in the September issue of VOGUE MAGAZINE and her lovely write up about my own line of hats (designed by moi), SUGARLIDS. You can read her blog HERE!

And a couple of the newest lids....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shiny Shiny

Its a post & run blog but couldn't help noticing KRISTIN CAVALLARI on the red carpet at Sunday night's VMA's in a vintage (read 80s) strapless dress in shiny aluminum silver. Thats Kristin on the left with Katy Perry....

Something positive in spite of Kanye West's pathetic behaviour that night!


Saturday, September 05, 2009

When Vintage Looks This Good....

Why shop the mall and wear what everyone else is? On a nearly daily basis I hear people express that they "can't" wear vintage or don't get how to wear it without it looking like a costume. Well, here's how. And swing by the site to check out a page devoted to showing you other WAYS TO WEAR VINTAGE....either head to toe, mixed eras or pieced into a modern wardrobe. Its hot AND eco-chic!

40s appliqued skirt with an 80s sequined tube top and 30s velvet corset lace dirndl with an Edwardian crocheted bonnet...

Here, a red rose print chiffon 50s dress with 70s belt, red velvet cape from the 1930s, 50s bottle green scarab beetle brooch and 40s feathered cocktail hat....

Early 1920s very Mary Pickford babydoll style wedding dress with organza ruffles and silk ribbon worn with a hat from my line, SUGARLIDS designed from a vintage fox pelt & millinery pieces....

We could mix it up all day, but these shots give a great idea of how vintage can be worn with a very modern attitude!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Des Moines Buzz

Lots of web-press for Dorothea's today! First the DESIGN_SPONGE mention, then an online article by local write Sophia Ahmad for the DES MOINES REGISTER/Juice Magazine! about her visit to my shop during the weekend visit from Betty Draper's real life Mom. She even used my pics (with permission of course). So, thanks Sponge & Sophia!!



DOROTHEA'S CLOSET is in the Guide to Des Moines, Iowa highlighted on today's DESIGN_SPONGE!. A fantastic blog, most honored by both the writer of the guide and the blog to be mentioned! Many thanks.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Dressing Betty Draper's Mom

Recently I had the pleasure of being the go-to person for vintage wear for the real life Mom of one of the vintage world's biggest screen stars...Betty Draper from AMC's MAD MEN! Betty, aka January Jones, will be taping an episode of THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW this week to be aired the week of September 21st, which of course is the date of the Emmy Awards Show. Mad Men is nominated for 16 awards, and the cast will be making an appearance on the Oprah show along with an entire audience wearing early 60s vintage! Betty & Don decked for cocktails (as an aside, Karen shared that January loves wearing vintage too!)...

January's Mom, Karen, lives here in the Des Moines area and had decided to drive out to Chicago with her sister to attend the show to support her lovely daughter. She contacted me here at the shop about help finding the perfect dress and was gracious enough to let me shoot some pics of some of the pieces she tried on but decided against. Her first choices were to go the Betty Draper route (both dresses available on my website)...

However, we were concerned about the dresses being too pale to be picked up in the studio audience. These were two more options, more along the lines of Joan....

But neither of those was the final choice....you'll have to tune in to the Oprah Show in September to see what Karen finally ended up in! A big thank you to Karen and her family who were along for the second visit and photo shoot. She looks as great in vintage as her daughter!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Divorce Over Funny Papers? And More... (orig. published June 12, 2006)

No no, no divorce for Jean....as far as I know, they were happily married til they were parted by his death in 1981. I found a letter with a couple pieces Jean's mother cut out & sent to her....strangely, no mention in the letter about what the intent was, but I assume she was letting Jean know she had gotten this hat & gloves....either for herself or to send to Jean (this while living in Kentucky, in 1936).
I've taken to reading the backs of the ads, and found this odd little story! Here's your divorce....
I'll have some eye candy for the sinners next, in the way of a political cartoon! For now, off to monitor Jean's green dress with cherry embellishments....its doing well! Ang

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fred (orig. posted June 11 2006)

I haven't gotten to many letters from her brother, Fred (whom I mistakenly assumed was younger, but is clearly a little older than her!)....I know they're in the stash I have, but I am working through slowly as time permits. I find sometimes I get so caught up in reading about her life I forget I need to WORK! And so I have not "blogged" in a few days, as I've been playing catch up on my vintage selling.
I did find a picture of she & Fred, I had thought I didnt have any of her as a small child but I do have this, and wanted to share it. I'd say it was taken in about 1907 to early 1908....
Hoping to get some pictures of newspaper articles today to get on here soon....meantime, lots of Jean's 40's dresses are at auction and ending tonight & tomorrow night (including that darling with the cherries on the shoulder!) so if you feel inclined, have a look! Ang

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Father's Love (orig. published June 8 2006)

Yep, I already posted today (are there blog rules against 2 posts in a day?).....I'll flout blog etiquette & post again anyway. Just read this letter from Jean's father, Thomas (Tom), written to her on January 30, 1937.....shortly after she goes home to recover there from the back surgery. It charmed me so I had to share.
My Darling Girl-
Well I called Hess this eve and he said the pain in the back of your neck he thot was due more to lack of exercise of the muscles in your neck and shoulders and that the pain resulted from a sustained position and the muscles became strained and sore. He thinks a massage regularly for a while by some competent swedish "massager" or osteopath will get the muscles in your neck and shoulders active and then you will not have the trouble. I would suggest also that you sit down and write out all the facts, etc you can think of and then let Bob put it in letter form to Dr Binger and see what he says in reply. I notice you talk of discouragement over your condition. Well thats clearly out of line of good judgement at this time because you cant expect to feel 100 percent OK for a long time- much longer than 3 months after any operation like yours following too quite a few years of a generally bad condition. In other words you cant tear down for 4 or 5 years then go thru an operation like yours and clean up all aches and pains, get your full strength and good health back in an instant nor even months- so take those SILLY NOTIONS out of your little head and keep up your chin and gradually build up the health and strength thru nature and exercise.
I don't want to hear you refer to discouragement, that is not the thing- you can't win a fight by giving up and taking the count. Get your mind off of yourself . You remember a few years ago when I thot I was having everything in the world- and I didnt get right until I got my head right- did I. I think you are doing fine, just keep on walking and exercising. If you dont want to go to osteopath or someone start exercising your neck and shoulders for 5 min at a time 4 or 5 times a day.. Get all those muscles active and see if the results are not good. In the meantime keep that good old chin of yours UP. Lots of Love & Kisses, Yours......Dad ps Business has been GOOD.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Vogue magazine declares "the 40s are in". Shoulder pads are making the runway rounds again. Suits worn as separates are the hot look for fall. Its the perfect time to mix a little real 40s with your modern wardrobe! These 40s pieces epitomize the iconic look without looking too much like you're headed to a U.S.O. party. All pics click to the site where you'll find tons more vintage (and yes, lots of 40s!).

The classic 40s suit, wide shoulders, nipped waist, pencil skirt, cool details...perfect together with some chunky accessories, tights & booties or separately layered into a myriad of ensembles!

Early 40s wool set in hunter green plaid, body conscious vest and skirt fantastic worn together over a short puff sleeve blouse, under a belted sweater or worn separately worked into scads of outfits! Imagine the vest belted over a skinny turtle neck with wide leg denim!

For a classic evening look, a sequined bodice crepe full length gown is red carpet perfect....

And for at home entertaining or an elegant evening out, leopard velvet meets amber silk chiffon!....


Monday, August 24, 2009

Vintage Vogue

My recent inclusion in the September issue of VOGUE MAGAZINE lead me to several conversations at my boutique with clients who found the photography of the Steven Meisel shoot unusual. I wasn't surprised at all when I saw them, rather, I was impressed at how true to 40's Vogue styling they appeared! Here is a 40s shot (credit to MY VINTAGE VOGUE...

And here is an image from the 2009 Meisel shoot (hat available on the website!)...

Something a little more unusual for a vintage Vogue is an outdoor shoot, like this one from the early 40s...

And the 2009 spin on fresh faced, outdoorsey types, both hats from my site, hat on left still available...

Another great shot, which happens to show a model holding a 1941 Vogue I have here at the house, aquired from Jean's estate!

For more vintage Vogue eye candy, be sure to peruse the MY VINTAGE VOGUE WEBSITE!


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