Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What The Frock?

Since when have I been into vintage? Karla once said ‘George, you are always dressed for an interview’ Motorox 06'. Surely corporate doesn’t hang on the same hanger as retro does it? Well, I have converted (partially). The fusion of classic and grunge has tickled my fancy….

Urban Art
So now I’ve become a real sucker for used clothing, otherwise more widely known as VINTAGE BABY. When in London, I didn’t invest time into the little cocooned stores within the Shoreditch district or the Soho neighbourhood. But my wandering eye lead me to the Noho/Soho district here in New York where all the prized stores compete against each other for the shopper’s enthusiasm- and money.

The East side is best known for it’s eccentric clothes. I have found numerous scattered shops that are all bound by the same vibe- retro. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture many photographs because these type of shops don’t allow it. But with a bit of shrewd timing and a watchful eye I managed to sneak a cheeky image or two.

 The photo to your left was taken from ‘Screaming Mimi’s’ http://www.screamingmimis.com/a store that has long been established for 32 years. The great thing about this place is, like with any vintage store, they bring in new items by the minute- a New York minute that is! I went on Sunday and today (Tuesday). And in that 48 hour period the racks have been stuffed, the older clothes (no pun) have received a push and shove from the freshly wedged piece. This particular store has clothes from the 50s right through to the 80s. Every vintage piece I have purchased however, has only been within the 81' to 89' time frame. I'm not brave enough to don the flower power numbers from the 60s and 70s or brave enough to fill out the 50s frock. But even if I were I would then be a walking lie. It wouldn't be me- at all. For the most part anyway, it is just interesting to see the clothes. Current clothes merely imitate the past trends, but these original beauties are true to the actual time. 
I have also been to a few places in Midtown Manhattan. I found a GREAT place called 'Cheap Jacks'- http://www.cheapjacks.com/. This store is of the weirder variety. You can see that just by observing the ebb and flow of people in and out of the store! I went in looking for a typical 80s sweater (I now have quite a few). It's one of those stores where you need to invest some time to weed out the ridiculous and find the treasure. 'Cheap Jack's' offers a greater breadth of fashion: VICTORIAN up through to the 80s. I was trying a selection of ugly Christmas sweater types in the fitting room, when a lady to my right slipped into a soft silk 40s wedding dress. It was like the dress Sandra Bullock wore in 'The Proposal'.
Classic Meets Grunge
Vintage is NOT cheap. The cost of one item alone does not sit nicely within the budget, but of late my list of shopping goes like this: yes it is in order of priorities.

  • Milk
  • Vintage Clothes
  • Food.

Notice how adorning myself with used clothes is of a greater concern than filling myself with food. But as you can see the most important consideration is milk- even if my propensity to disburse money on clothes were to soar, I will always have milk!

Like I said earlier, I’m not known to succumb to daring and oddly pieced outfits but these wearable experiments of fashion retain a classical look. The clothes meld music, art, and fashion together to not only create an urbane look but also sets up a lifestyle choice. Mess, grunge, sleepless nights, running mascara and bedhead hair. There is something so endearing about these unorthodox customs- every second person that passed me fulfilled the above criteria, and thus I have come to realise that these features really do work! Of course the sphere in which these shops find themselves in is typically trendy- so they are in the right place. Think debris and old car pieces, think brick, think barbed wire. And then paint a wall of graffiti that supports a 'free thinking' mantra.
In Case You Were Wondering, The Whole Thing Is Painted, Even The Architectural Design 
Fashion On Your Doorstep

Keep Your Friends Close, And Your Enemies Closer....
Soho is not only home to the counter culture, but to the current culture as well. What I mean by this, is that the vintage stores are threatened by Marc Jacobs; Prada; Hollister and Urban Outfitters to name but a few. The string of designer boutique outlets may seem at first misplaced alongside the grubby and dingy shops, but oddly enough the stark differences compliment each other really well...

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Coco Chanel

Aligned with Coco, fashion in New York is in the form of a subway sign; a cafe; a coca-cola advert and dare I say it: the pestering rats- rats have found their way into the New York style. A scurrying rat looks appropriately hip beside a jean jacket, jean trouser wearing youth!

In all, New York has a catalog worth of vintage finds- stashes of musty smelling articles against an urban backdrop.... And even if the stingy pennies don’t agree with my newly acquired retro style, I am pleased to report that my fashion radar is as sharp as ever- Carrie would be proud!

P.S. When attempting any kind of vintage excursion, be sure to wear sensible footwear as you will unquestionably log a mile or two!

1 comment:

  1. Looked like you had an incredible Thanksgiving, Georgie! Beautiful pictures, beautiful account! :) xxx