This Norfolk work jacket, which the seller labels 1920’s/30’s, was made by Shenandoah Tailoring Company of Mt. Sidney, Virginia, and has some interesting bits of tailoring going on. From the front it looks like a work jacket, with pretty plain front, pockets, collar, and a big metal zipper. From the back, it looks like an elegant belt-back jacket, with tucks that look like they could be ironed out for definition. The jacket is also unlined, which I find odd, and the seams are piped with a trim so the fabric doesn’t unravel. There was a spot with threads (which can be pulled out) where the coat had a patch at some point…it would be interesting to know what was on the patch.
The jacket is labeled a 34, but the seller says he fit into it snugly at a 38, so it could fit a 36, with some fabric in the cuff of the sleeves to let out for tailoring. Starting price is $24.99, which is a great price for a coat, period; however, I don’t know what delusions of grandeur the seller had listing the Buy It Now at $1,200. I think I’d take my chances in the auction!
I am always pleased when sellers list seasonal items during the right season – when you are in the mood for something, retailers usually respond, and right now it’s the smell of cinnamon, clothing that sparkles, and Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas playing overhead (how did they know?! 😉 ).
I can’t give you the cinnamon, but here’s the Ella, and some vintage dresses from each of our swinging decades that really sparkle:
Oc-Tie-ber may be over, but its spirit lives on – add to your neckwear collection by picking up one of these dead stock (read: vintage, but never worn/new in packaging) Austin Reed white bow ties on eBay, size 15 1/2. Wouldn’t this look fantastic with your New Year’s Eve tux, or with a colorful shirt, or maybe pair with a vest?
Bidding is still under $2.00 for both auctions, so you may spend more on shipping than you will on the tie!
Some great shoes popped up on eBay from seller hopalong.acropolis, who found several pairs of vintage 1930’s/40’s cap toe shoes from an estate sale in a size 8. Starting price is $19.99 for each pair – take a look!
There are a few really good deals on eBay right now for Re-mix Vintage Shoes and Aris Allen dance shoes. For starters, there is a pair of worn-once Remix Deco shoes in the gray suede/black leather combo, size 9, with a starting bid of $10.00. These shoes retail at $194.00, so $10.00 just seems crazy. My guess is that the bidding will go higher than this, but any Remix shoe to be had under $50.00 is a major win.
The next Remix deal isn’t as good, comparatively, but it’s still a pretty awesome deal – $89.99 starting bid for a pair of silver pleated toe wedges, size 11. I love Re-Mix wedges and silver seems to go with everything. 🙂
Finally, the best deal of the week as a pair of lovely Aris Allen white satin 1930’s heels, size 10, with a starting price of $0.99. That’s right, 99 cents! The shipping is more than the cost of the item, but even then, it still puts you in a pair of dance shoes for less than $15. Winning!
I was scanning through my eBay search emails today and came across a listing for this 1940’s rayon print dress that showed a detailed photograph of the fabric and a button, rather than a photograph of the entire dress. Some sellers choose to do this, but don’t always capture the detail in a way that is compelling, the way the a photograph of the entire dress would. This listing, however, caught my eye because of this fantastic punctuation-themed print and the butter-colored buttons with metallic trim. On closer inspection, there were even more details in the dress, like smocking at the shoulders and what looks like smocking on the bodice just above the skirt. This seller, mir.a, is smart because just looking at the dress by itself, at a distance, it appears nondescript on its own and somewhat shapeless without a model – but showing off the dress’s fantastic details is enough for me to give this dress a further look (to discover it’s not in my size). Laid flat, measurements are 38 waist, 43 bust, free hips.
I came across two black 1930’s suits in the same jacket size, 40R, on eBay this week that look to be in great condition! The first has a double breasted jacket with the following description:
“This is a vintage 1930’s, three piece, double breasted suit in good, vintage dry cleaned condition. There are no holes or stains. This suit measures 21″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 16 1/2″ across from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff. The pants are 36 x 30. They have interior buttons for suspenders and a button front closure. They are flat fronted with cuffs.”
The second suit is a regular three piece suit, dated 1933, with the description:
“It is 22″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 17 1/2″ across the back from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the cuff. The pants are 35 x 30. They are flat fronted with cuffs. There is a watch pocket.”
Starting price is $199.00 for each suit – you’d run the same at Men’s Wearhouse for a three piece suit, but something tells me this vintage suit would be more of a standout. 🙂
The Jazz Age Lawn Party never ceases to amaze me, with its charm, beauty, number of well-dressed people, and even its power over mother nature. It is such a rare opportunity to dance entirely to 1920’s music and the quality of music was superb, thanks to Michael Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra, the Gelber and Manning Band, and the twin Victrola turntables operated by DJ MAC. It was a beautiful weekend under the trees on Governor’s Island – the storms that threatened New York were held at bay until Sunday afternoon, when Michael Arenella commented from the bandstand that the rain couldn’t stop the festivities and called a tune with “rain” in the title to mock the threatening weather; it was then that the sky opened up, with only a few warning drops before the downpour sent everyone scurrying for cover.
This event has grown every year and this year it seemed to double in size from last year’s impressive turnout. I also noticed that the event organizers take note of how they can improve the event from year to year; for example, in an attempt to combat bystanders loitering on the dance floor and eventually taking it over, they roped off the dance floor area (which was someone effective, but there will always be chattel who don’t understand that a dance floor is for DANCING, not for standing or ogling). There were also more vendors this year, so let’s get to the list!
There simply couldn’t be a JALP without the classic and delicious cocktails made with St. Germain Liqueur, a cocktail confection made from elderflowers picked in the Alps. There was a rush on the cocktails, primarily due to an online coupon deal that offered all you can drink St. Germain for the day, and by the end of day one they were sold out of liqueur. Never fear, they replenished the supply for day two and the delicious festivities continued.
Kreamland Ice Cream was on hand with scoops of ice cream in classic flavors, the perfect treat on a hot August day. In the photograph at right you can see an example of the signs the JALP crew added to distinguish the different administrative and vendor tables, which were especially helpful with the throngs of people in attendance.
Another improvement I noticed was a table set up with helpful items to get you through the day. Forgot your parasol? Need sunscreen or a tissue? Wishing you had a fan to escape the heat? Making these items available for purchase was a great idea! And isn’t the display lovely?
It was interesting to see a modern vendor, such as Yelp, have a table at JALP, but then Yelp is a very useful resource. Yelp sponsored a vintage photo booth at the event, with photographs taken by Tsirkus Fotografika, “an ongoing non-profit, public arts project based in Philadelphia, PA, designed to bring the creative process directly to communities and document populations at their most lively. Employing a mobile portrait studio and trailing-edge technologies such as analog film, old-fashioned “hot” lighting, and large format equipment, Tsirkus follows in the footsteps of itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town making portraits on-the-spot.” I now wish I had waited in line to get my photograph taken – perhaps next year.
Next in the line of vendors was Odd Twin, a Brooklyn-based vintage store with wares available from the jazz age and beyond. I will display more photographs below of the vendors’ wares, but I will note that I was particularly smitten with a two tone brown 1940’s suit that was displayed on the end of their hanging rack. Drool…
Sharing a vendor table were Necks Tuesday and hyc Creative letterpress. Necks Tuesday might be the most creative name for a bow tie company I’ve ever encountered. This Brooklyn-based company asserts that bow ties are a “facet of traditional menswear,” but are now “often an element of a forward, contemporary look.” What’s old is new again, eh? I can get behind this philosophy. Their ties are available in a number of wonderful muted tones and patterns that are sure to go with much of a man’s wardrobe and make a stylish statement without being too loud.
hyc Creative letterpress displayed an endearing collection of thoughtful printed cards, stationery, bookmarks and prints. From their website: “hyc Creative is the creation of Dawn Hylon Lucas-Carlson. A small private press founded in 2006. We print Letterpress greeting cards, bookmarks, coasters, prints, and invitations using a mix of found vintage blocks and fonts, hand carved linoleum blocks and newly created designs. Everything is hand-printed on a Kelsey 6 x 10 Excelsior Press.”
Next in the lineup is The Original Prohibition Clothing Company, a company specializing in custom menswear. What I like about TOPCC is the wear-ability of the garments and the attention to detail. These clothes could be in a fine menswear store just about anywhere, you could wear the clothes anywhere, but they would be that piece that stands out as superb amongst the modern suits, with just enough nod to vintage to appear authentic. Details like fan pleating out of a belt back Norfolk jacket or a black and white Bette Davis printed on the inside of a newsboy cap make these items truly stand out against the competition. Their website is still under development, but I look forward to this company making their products available to the masses. Until then, you can browse some of their accessories available in TOPCC eBay store.
The Fine and Dandy Shop.com had a wonderful showing of men’s accessories – ties, pocket squares, handkerchiefs, cufflinks and other man jewelry, flasks, pocket watches, and even a vintage Boy Scout’s guide. Fine and Dandy has a fairly comprehensive website and I’d recommend that you gents check out their fantastic selection, including their ties, which are made in New York. See photographs below.
After all this menswear, I arrived at my favorite vendor of the weekend, Noble Savage Vintage, who displayed exclusively pre-1940’s clothing and accessories for women. This table and rack were a dream come true, with beautiful beading, gauzy dresses, satin 1920’s shoes, and vintage lace galore. My friend Elizabeth picked up a wonderful 1930’s dress in a gauzy chiffon floral that was perfect for Day 2 of the lawn party.
I’ll end this tour-de-vendors with The Village Scandal, one of last year’s wonderful vendors who had amazing cloches and the must-have fascinator of the event. This year, their entire inventory must have been must-have because, by the time I made it out to their table, it had been ransacked. Their positioning near the entrance may have helped add to the chaos of what happened to their table, but I am pleased to see that they did so much business.
There were other vendors, but they did not have signs and I was unable to speak with the vendor representative (so many people!). I hope to return to this event next year and make it a priority to get to the event earlier to scope out the vendors’ wares. Until then, I leave you with these photos:
The eBay gods have offered up this wonderful reproduction specimen by American designer Ralph Lauren, who has created one of the holy grails of male swing dancer shopping, his version of the linen Norfolk jacket. In white, breathable, summer weight linen, this Norfolk jacket has oodles of details, like the square pockets in the front, full belting, and what looks like pintuck detailing in the front. Made in a size 40L, it’s a wearable size for a taller gent. At $375, this grail comes with a price tag I’d not normally post on Lindy Shopper, but it was too good not to share and it’s new, with the tags still attached. I always have hope that, if I watch the item long enough, the price will go down or the seller will entertain other offers.
Two interesting specimens popped up in my eBay searches this week. First, herringbone knickers/plus fours and a matching jacket, which the seller is dating 1930’s or 1940’s, but someone who knows menswear better than me might have a better handle on their decade of origin. In any case, knickers are awesome and here’s a whole suit for your day on the links, night on the dance floor, or the next tweed ride – 39 jacket and 31 waist.
EBay seller 4 Birds Vintage may have hit the motherload: “This is just the one of a 50-pair shoe collection ~ mostly new old stock from a family shoe store ~ that will be available within the next week. Most shoes are from the years 1890 – 1940 and include original boxes and store price tags. Brands include Star, Poll Parrot, Florsheim, and more.” I’ll definitely be checking back to see what this seller adds to his/her eBay page!
This pair of white leather oxfords is the first of this collection listed and they are in fantastic condition. You’ll have to get a ruler out to determine the size, but the seller says, “These shoes measure 10″ in length on the inside, 3 1/2″ wide on the bottom, with a 1″ heel.” Buy It Now is at $125, a bit more than your Aris Allens, but definitely less than a pair of Remix oxfords.
I have received a request from Laurel Carpenter to write about evaluating vintage clothing prices, based on the tendency of some vintage retailers and eBay sellers to overprice their vintage pieces. What is worth it? What should you leave on the rack or the proverbial auction block?
I have found that this becomes a very personal decision, based on your income, the priority of incorporating vintage clothing into your wardrobe, the availability of vintage clothing in your geographic area, how well the garment fits, how much you like the garment, the condition of the garment, the similarity to other vintage items in your wardrobe, the cost of any potential alterations, and occasions to wear a particular garment, among other factors. When I go shopping for vintage clothing I sort of run through a series of questions based on these factors.
When it comes to the price of vintage clothing I look at things on a sliding scale – the garment is more valuable to me if it fits like a dream, it is unique and flattering, and in great condition. And if it’s green, I’ll be willing to pay even more. 🙂 However, just because it is old doesn’t mean that it is worth hundreds of dollars and just because it is vintage doesn’t mean that I’ll open my wallet any wider than I would if I shopped at the mall.
I’ll speak generally about prices, focusing on swing era garments, which are a rarity in your average local vintage store and more plentiful on eBay. Some sellers just want more money for their stuff – they either live in an area where people pay these prices or they think they’ve hit the jackpot at an estate sale and have dollar signs in their eyes. With the advent of eBay, these rarities have become more available to the masses and I have noticed the prices of vintage in my area either going down or staying the same as when I started shopping for vintage clothing, around 1999. It’s become more competitive, which is good for you as the consumer, to have a wider selection at competitive prices.
1920’s clothing, due to its age and fragile nature, tends to cost more because most of the materials in clothing from this era have deteriorated – to find something in excellent condition from the 1920’s is rare. To translate that into cost you have to consider how good the condition is and how fabulous the item – do you pay $1,000 for the beaded 1920’s dress/gown? No, no, don’t do that – would you spend that much on an evening gown? Maybe your wedding dress, but consider how old this garment is, the likelihood that the fine mesh will deteriorate, and what happens if it gets a tear or the beads start coming off? Devastating. Do you pay $200 for it? Maybe. If it fits you like a glove, you can Charleston in it without shedding beads, and you have the perfect occasion to wear it, then consider it a viable option. In a similar fashion, what if you find a 1920’s cotton day dress? How ornate is it? If it’s got wonderful embroidery or tailoring details, you might want to spend that much on a day dress that you could wear more often. Fabulous-ness and wear-ability equate value.
That said, you don’t have to spend $200 on a 1920’s dress. I have found wonderful 1920’s dresses for $80 (at Sweet Lorain in Cleveland, slate gray and cream day dress with about 50 tiny covered buttons up the front, perfect fit), for $40 (eBay, pink day dress with hand embroidered roses, my tailor had to enlarge the arm holes), and for $30 (1920’s maid uniform, black with white lace collar and cuffs, mint condition, possibly never worn).
$200 is my benchmark, I won’t pay more than that for anything vintage and I try to implement that policy here when I write about clothing on Lindy Shopper. It has to be the most fabulous thing I’ve ever seen to get me up to that number and it has to be close to the most fabulous thing I’ve ever seen to get me over $100, or I have to really, really need it for an occasion. Beyond that, it becomes unaffordable and I’ll file it with the Miu Miu and Prada dresses I want, but will never own.
The more you shop for vintage, the more you are aware of what is rare from each era and what constitutes a reasonable price. I have been sorely spoiled here in Durham with Dolly’s Vintage, which hasn’t priced anything I’ve picked up in the store over $35, but then Dolly’s doesn’t have a lot of swing era items. You may pay anywhere from $30 to $80 for a vintage 1940’s or 1950’s day dress – would you pay that much for a dress at, say…Banana Republic? Probably, maybe even more. And if it fits you better than a BR dress and it’s one of a kind, it would be worth it, right?
eBay can be tricky, since you are bidding against other people. I find that placing my maximum bid and just walking away until the auction is over is the best policy for me, which is how I acquired those two 1920’s dresses at such a low price. I can’t rely on eBay to absolutely get me what I want unless I’m willing to wage a bidding war, but you really have to choose your battles on eBay and only wage war for those items that you absolutely must have. You’ll feel it in your gut when that item shows up. There are no guarantees you will win and losing something you’d like to own can hurt, but the odds of getting something amazing are much greater overall because there is a larger selection of items.
There are also those eBay sellers who have severely overpriced their items (Buy it Now $198.00 for a cotton 1930’s day dress that is fairly unremarkable) and they keep showing up in my searches week after week after week (*cough* VioletvilleVintage *cough*), but there’s a reason the items continue to be re-listed – no one is willing to pay that much for that particular item. If no one is willing to pay that much, then why don’t they lower the price so they can sell it? I have no idea. I’ve been tempted to write to these sellers and let them know what price I would be willing to pay for their wares, but it’s not worth my time because there are so many other dresses out there.
I’d love to hear your experiences with prices, both eBay and retail, and I’d be happy to take any follow-up questions you may have. It was hard to organize my thoughts on this topic because there are so many factors that go into my decision to purchase a particular item of vintage clothing, but price is definitely a big factor.