• Caftan Liberation: How an Ancient Fashion Set Modern Women Free Put away those skinny jeans: “Mad Men” goddess Christina Hendricks has declared she's most comfortable in a caftan. What else would she wear lounging on Mount Olympus? But she didn't forget us mere mortals, as her announcement this April on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” bestowed upon us the gifts of comfort, and comfort food, with the concept of the caftan-and-casserole party. This summ…
  • Could the Clothes on Your Back Halt Global Warming? What comes to mind when you think of vintage clothing? It’s probably those untouchably cool hipsters who seem transported from another time, or the fashionista who’s always got one piece that makes her outfit pop. You might think of quality, as old clothes are often better made than modern ones. Cultural nostalgia is everywhere these days, but if the item came from a family member, the nostalgia g…
  • Crush the Best-Dressed List: Our Style Guide to a Century of Dazzling Party Dresses Now that the jeans-and-T-shirts plague has reached our fancy restaurants, cocktail parties, and nightclubs, it seems as though nobody cares about dressing up anymore. And yet, as fashions become increasingly casual, the perfect party dress is like a secret weapon—turning anyone into a rose among daisies. "Most middle-class women would have had one good dress to wear for evening, parties, weddin…
  • If These Shirts Could Talk: The Tantalizing Tales Behind Used Clothes The mysterious packages kept arriving, some from eBay, others from the Home Shopping Network, each addressed to her. All these clothes she didn't want, which weren't her size or style. She couldn't explain them to herself, much less her husband. Finally, late one night he heard her stirring and awoke to see his wife browsing shopping websites and ordering clothes in her sleep. "They were sellin…
  • 'The Great Gatsby' Still Gets Flappers Wrong Have you heard? There’s a new swell in town named Gatsby, and he’s bringing flapper flair back into fashion. Baz Luhrmann’s latest cinematic spectacle—his take on “The Great Gatsby”—promises to be a sensational commercial for Prada and Brooks Brothers, who partnered with Luhrmann's wife, costume designer Catherine Martin, on the film’s clothing. Fashion-world heavyweights, like and , are already …
  • Reality TV Cracks Open the Extravagant World of Hollywood Vintage Vintage fashion is finally having its moment in the sun. Or, that is, the bright lights of cable reality TV. Two shows that premiered this season—Bravo’s “Dukes of Melrose” and Smithsonian Channel’s “L.A. Frock Stars”—each focus on a high-end vintage boutique located near Hollywood and patronized by big-name celebrities. When “American Pickers” debuted on the History Channel in 2010, it opened th…
  • Uncovering Clues in Frida Kahlo's Private Wardrobe Frida Kahlo wore her heart on her sleeve, though not the way one might think. In real life, as on the canvases of her many self-portraits, Kahlo used fashion to channel her physical and emotional insecurities into statements of strength, heritage, and beauty. Yet for nearly 50 years, her personal wardrobe remained hidden to scholars and fans alike, locked away shortly after Kahlo's death in 1954. …
  • Sexier Than Silk: The Irresistible Allure of the Nylon Slip When I’m in a vintage shop or thrift store digging through racks and racks of clothing, a slip will always stop me. First, I feel the smooth texture of the nylon, and then I pause to gawk at the detailing and the lace. I remember that I could actually wear something prettier than sweats to sleep. While vintage bras and panties can seem too intimate to even consider reusing, a slip does not. If it …
  • Vintage Guru Reveals Her Glamour Secrets V intage can be intimidating. It's certainly not as simple as going to the mall, finding your size, and buying a mass-produced outfit. You have to dig through racks and racks of wildly diverse items, with mysterious sizing, looking for the piece that just feels right. But vintage has a lot going for it: The clothing is greener, because it was not manufactured overseas; the materials and stitching…
  • Inside Kim Gordon's Clothing Sale Kim Gordon, rock goddess extraordinaire, stands in front of me in a stunning party dress. We’re in a quaint vintage boutique on Oakland, California’s Piedmont Avenue. The store, Mercy Vintage Now—just a mere two blocks from my Victorian flat—is selling 146 pieces of her clothing in the store, beginning with this Friday-night preview, and online, starting 8 a.m. PST on Saturday, September 1. “I …
  • Va-Va-Voom Vintage: Dita Von Teese on Burlesque, Cars, and Lingerie Dita Von Teese wears her status as "America's most famous stripper" with pride. But to vintage hounds, the 39-year-old burlesque superstar is not just a pretty lady who takes off her clothes, but the epitome of true Old Hollywood glamour. Credited with pioneering the neo-burlesque revival in the early 1990s, she incorporates nostalgia into every aspect of her life. She dresses head-to-toe vintage …
  • Leading the Charge Against Casual Style, Armed With Antique Clothes and a Bike Tziporah Salamon is used to being photographed—by everyone from New York City tourists to famous "New York Times" street-fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. She's impossible for shutterbugs to resist, when they catch her riding around the city on her turquoise Bianchi, often a symphony of lush colors, decked head-to-toe in exquisite, embroidered, antique fabrics. Salamon also caught the eye of 3…
  • Why the 'Native' Fashion Trend Is Pissing Off Real Native Americans Tis the season for buying presents. As you peruse your local mall, you might find yourself drawn to beautiful geometric patterns in vibrant colors, long associated with Navajo rugs, Pendleton "Indian trade" blankets, and Southwest Native American pottery. They'll be everywhere you look, on sneakers, pricey handbags, home decor, and high-fashion skirts, coats, and jackets. But many Native Americ…
  • Mary Tyler Moore, '70s Style for Strong Women Although I was in my tween years when "The Mary Tyler Moore" aired on TV (1970-1977), I could identify with this strong, independent woman, even then. Today, watching it in reruns, the hairstyles and clothing seem outrageous at times, if not just plain hilarious. However, this retro ideal of a single working woman is just as relevant today as it was then. Despite its brown shag carpet, I loved …
  • Dress Hound Cherie Federau Explains How She Makes Vintage Work for Her I’ve pretty much always been a little bit fashion-nutty, ever since I was about 16 years old and I discovered Vogue. I started like a lot of other people, buying vintage to recreate the looks that I saw but couldn’t afford as a teenager. Then slowly over the years, as my hobby turned into more of an obsession, I became interested in the designers behind the labels and it just snowballed from there…
  • Good Girls and Bad Boys: How to Achieve That Cool '50s Rockabilly Look Jayne Mansfield is buried in my hometown. You could drive past the cemetery and see her heart-shaped headstone from the road. We had our own historical society, a tiny little museum, if you can even call it that. I remember going on a class trip there once. Some of her things were displayed, like long sequined cocktail dresses and some of her little personal effects. That stayed with me into my ad…