Archive for Vintage

Mad Men Style

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by factorygirl82

I am very excited for the upcoming premiere of Season 5 of Mad Men. It’s pretty much like the expectation of Christmas for a kid.  I’ve watched every episode of every season thus far. I was seriously contemplating having a Mad Men party but I think I may just dress up and go somewhere for it. I love Mad Men because the stories and characters are fascinating. The clothing is amazing and spot on. But also because the Mad Men theme party is very doable and fairly easy. So I decided to write a blog on the style and to show case some great pieces I have at the physical shop and on our online store.

Mad Men parties are a lot of fun and pretty easy to do. Unlike a 1920s theme party. I get a lot of people that are doing the 1920s party not realizing that A) People were A LOT smaller then B) It’s almost a hundred years ago so that clothes, not that easy to come by and C) How expensive those authentic clothes are.  Now with Mad Men people were smaller then as well but if you can’t find a dress you can always accessorize!

Let’s start with the men.

Men’s vintage clothing in general is hard to come by in good shape. Men you have a tendency to get a suit and wear it for 30 years. Women we buy a dress wear it once and keep it for 30 years. But with Mad Men all you need is a good suit, preferably with skinny lapels and a skinny skinny tie. If you can’t find the suit an authentic skinny tie is pretty easy to come by and makes the outfit.  Of course everyone talks of the hats men wear on Mad Men they call them fedoras. They aren’t! Fedora’s have a wider brim what they wear on Mad Men is essentially a shorter brimmed fedora called a Trilby. These can be hard to find in normal guy sizes, heads were smaller. But you also must be aware of the fact that they didn’t wear the hats pushed down it perched. This was so you wouldn’t have a hat hair line when you took your hat off. I’m sure you notice the immaculate hair Don Draper has.

This is a early 1960s skinny tie I have in the shop right now. It’s super skinny and paired with a white/cream button down collared shirt, some nice slacks and maybe some Clark Kent glasses and you are good to go!

This is a great Mid 1960s Sport Coat I have at the shop and on our online don’t worry I’ll put the website where you can purchase at the bottom of this blog but I gotta get you to read it first! Again pair this with a skinny tie, slacks, and a trilby outfit done.

Now onto the ladies

I want all three of those dresses, but that’s besides the point. I know that Banana Republic is doing a “Mad Men” line. Don’t buy it. I can guarantee it’s over priced crap. Plus who wants to show up at a party with the same outfit as someone else? Again the beauty of these early 1960s theme parties is that you can find the clothes! They are great quality, gorgeous fabrics, and great shapes that suit a variety of body types. A key to vintage dress shopping especially if you are doing it online is to know your bust, natural waist (right below the rib cage, smallest part of you), and hip measurements. That way you can buy those bombshell wiggle dresses and  be able to breath.  Women use to have tiny waists and also wear girdles that suck you in. Spanx doesn’t compare to those girdles. I often will wear a waist cincher with my vintage dresses.

This is an Elizabeth Arden early 1960s Aqua Silk Shantung dress with matching jacket I have in the shop right now. This screams Joan Holloway. It is a more casual outfit for a Mad Men party. You pair this with kitten heels, a clutch, and beads.

This is a late 1950s early 1960s Gold and White Velvet Flocked Circle Skirt Dress. These are very desirable right now, they also have a tendency to TINY. If you are looking for something like this in a more normal size for today it’s best to give yourself some time to either hunt your local vintage stores or get it online.

Now if you can’t find a dress you like that fits the way you like you can always do a simple black cocktail dress and accessories! The beauty of accessories no size. Here are some example of items I’ve had that are 60s that you can pair with a black cocktail dress and look authentic.

This is a brown vinyl “patent” purse. This is from the early 1960s and it’s a good size because you can fit a cell phone in it. With a lot of vintage purses there isn’t room because it didn’t exist!

This is an early 60s cigarette case. Not this actual one but one exactly like it was used on an episode of Mad Men! The smoking accessories are very of the era. If you are the one throwing the party I recommend the old giant crystal ash trays. We have a few awesome ones at the shop.

This is  a pair of early 1960s black patent heels. They have a thin heel with a point toe. Again pair these with a black cocktail dress, some pearls and a black clutch. Good. To. Go.

Finally Gloves. Gloves can be a little tricky because again women were smaller and had smaller hands.  But if your hands are actually small they are great period piece. Also if you’re like me where my actual wrists and hands are small but I have long skinny fingers you can get away with wearing them. The finger part just wont go all the way down but if they are on your hand no one can tell.

Let’s talk booze now. My favorite Mad Men cocktail is the old fashioned. I started drinking these because of Don Draper and it’s pretty much my drink of choice. Whiskey Sours are also good but I recommend downloading a recipe where you make the sour, sour mix is gross. Really almost anything with Whiskey is good. Martinis, Tom Collins, but if you do a Martini it has to be real so that means GIN people.

Well those are just some of my tips for a Mad Men party. Feel free to contact me if you would like more advice about I’m sure I left somethings out. I can’t wait for this new season.

Here is my website


I like to do nerdy things like research.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by factorygirl82

Recently I helped a friend track down an article of vintage clothing he was looking for, I found it in a reproduction but it was perfect. In case you were curious it’s the Apollo sweater that Danny from the Shining wears. He said I was awesome, which I totally am. But I explained to him there are two things I’m really good at research and vintage clothing. This might be why I’m good at what I do. I don’t know when the research thing started. I’ve always been a huge mystery fan especially historical mysteries. When I was little I would write mysteries with a Cat as the detective. This is the story of one of my favorite and nerdiest research moments. Because it was all in my spare time and just for fun. It’s the story of Anna C. Spahn.

I grew up next to a cemetery. They have never wigged me out at all. I always kind of loved them. Not that I have ever been the creepy girl that hangs out in one, but I like the monuments. I wonder about the people buried in them. That’s how this research project came along. The above photo is a monument in the cemetery next to my house. Her name was Anna C. Spahn. Creepy name no?

As you can see this is an impressive monument. She was obviously a teenager when she passed away and her family clearly had money. The reason I started doing research on her was simply curiosity and time to kill.

It was my freshmen year at Columbia College. As a freshmen I didn’t yet grasp the “get your classes as close together as possible, so you don’t have to hang out downtown or travel downtown from the northside every day.” I learned that Sophomore year.  I had about a two and a half hour break between classes on Monday and Wednesday. Some days I would wonder down to Marshall Field’s and look at clothing. That ended up being trouble for my bank account. So I started going to the Harold Washington Library.  While there I would play with the Microfiche. I liked to look up the old newspapers about Al Capone and the Leopold and Loeb murder case/trial. Did I mention I’m slightly morbid at times too? Maybe it has to do with growing up next to a cemetery. I digress.

As you can see there is a death date on her monument. No birth date. This is what put me into curiosity mode. I wanted to know how old she was, I wanted to see if I could find out anything about her, and as I said I had time to kill. So to the Library I went.  I started out by finding the newspapers from the week of her death. I thought there would be a death announcement, again the family had money so it was just logical. I did find a death announcement! But sigh the mystery continued on because there was still no birth date and no mention of how old she had been. The wake was public and held at Holy Name in Chicago.

The family bought a plot but she was the only one buried there. After the lack of information from the newspaper. I decided to go all out. I went up to the librarian and asked her how to read the 1920 census. She looked at me like I was a little nuts. She asked if it was for a project, I told her no just for fun. Again she looked a little perplexed. I was 19, probably didn’t look like your average research nerd, with my pink and purple hair, and sex pistols t-shirt.  But I learned how to read the 1920 census. It’s on Microfiche if you ever want to go check it out but be warned its written in the really tiny cursive from the turn of the century that’s almost impossible to read. Luckily it is alphabetical and divided up so it’s only a few letters together at time. In other words you don’t have to spend six years going through everyone. So I sat and scrolled through not sure how many Spahns there would be. Eureka! Success! There was only one in the Chicago area. Better yet there was one with a daughter named Anna! I finally got the information I was after, it was thrilling, satisfying, and just fun.

So here it is Anna C. Spahn was 17 when she died. Cause of death still unknown. But she was the daughter of a second marriage. Her mother was 40 when she had her. Which for that time period was very odd. She had two half brothers. One who was a detective for the Chicago PD. Her father owned a furniture store at Diversey and Halstead. She was living a few blocks away off of Diversey. That’s what I found out. I found it pretty interesting. But I am a nerd. I ended up doing my production two film about her. I was pretty satisfied with the information I found out, of course I would love to know more especially about her half brother that was a detective. That will probably be the next research project.

Dealing in vintage clothing there are a lot of stories behind the clothes and I love hearing them. I also love discovering labels and doing the research on that. In other words if you every need help finding out something I’m your girl!

As always apologies for my bad grammar. It’s not my strong point. Check out the new items in the etsy shop!

It’s a Sympathy Vote.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by factorygirl82

Phew it has been a while since I’ve written! Part of it had to do with being uber busy, being ill again, holiday craziness, and then just writers block. But enough about me. Hope you all had a great holiday season. This month, as it is steadily approaching I’ve decided to write about the Oscars!

I was a film student and have always been a big film buff. The Academy Awards were and still kind are one of my favorite things to watch. I think as I’ve gotten older they have become less fun. I watch them mainly for the pretty dresses at this point because pretty much anyone that’s really deserving of winning never wins. It’s a rarity that the picture I want to win, wins. I used to always try to see as many of the contenders as possible, so I could make a fair decision. I took it seriously! Not so much anymore. Going to the movies has gotten expensive, a lot of times it annoys me more than I have fun, there’s always that idiot whose phone either rings or they must absolutely check their text message because they are sooooooo important they can’t not be in contact with the outside world for a whole two hours. I digress.  I’ve decided to write about a few of my favorite films that were nominated for best picture and didn’t win but should have if the Oscars weren’t just an ego stroke. To quote trainspotting

“Despite the Academy Award?”

“That means fuck all its a sympathy vote!”

Trainspotting is one of my favorite movies and books of all time. It’s the only one on this list of films that wasn’t nominated for best picture but should have been! It came out when I was 13 or 14 I was in my major anglophile phase, still am but I would say that was the peak of it. I saw it with my mothers approval. I think she approved it because she knew after seeing it I would most definitely not be touching heroin any time soon, let alone ever. Trainspotting is a great adaptation of the book, it has a kick ass soundtrack, great cinematography (I wrote a paper on this for a film class, stupid teacher gave me a C because he didn’t like the film), and an awesome cast. The Scottish accent can be tricky at times especially with Begbie but you’ll get the hang of it after a few minutes. In the book there’s actually a glossary in the back. Uber helpful. If you’ve been living under a rock since 1993 I recommend you watch this asap.

As you obviously know by now vintage is kind of my thing. I’m a huge film noir fan. This movie, again, an adaptation is so great. It captures the film noir feel perfectly but instead of being black and white it’s in color. This was when Russel Crow was actually cool and a good actor. When Kim Bassinger came out of retirement and hit it out of the park with her portrayal of the Veronica Lake lookalike. The costumes, set design, acting, and plot in this film are excellently done. I think the reason this lost out was because it was up against Titanic. Which in my opinion is one of the crappiest written films of all time. Sure the special effects are intense and amazing but the plot and the dialog horrible! I can’t believe people fell for this crap. I mean how many times do the characters have to say each others names? It’s almost 3 hours in if after 30 minutes we don’t remember who the main characters are or their names obviously there’s something wrong.

Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite films of all time. I saw it instead of going to my High School graduation. Definitely time better spent. Moulin Rouge was either a you love it or you  hate it type of film. I definitely love it. I love Baz Luhrman. Again the costumes, the music, the set design, the acting all amazing. Ewan McGregor rocks as does Nicole Kidman who saw that coming them as Hollywood Musical Stars? Now this lost out to A Beautiful Mind. Which was good, I saw once don’t care if I ever see it again. Moulin Rouge I watch repeatedly and it inspires me every time I see it. This was where the Oscars definitely played it safe going with a Beautiful Mind over the innovative film that did change modern cinema. If it wasn’t for the success of Moulin Rouge would Chicago have gotten made? Nope.

The Aviator. What an amazing film! I had just finished a Howard Hughes biography and Leo got him spot on. Cate Blanchett was stunning as Katherine Hepburn I did not see her pulling that off but she did, again this has a vintage thing, so you can understand why I lean toward these films. The sets, costumes, and just in general feel of the film was fantastic. The only thing that drove me a little nuts was the casting of Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow. I love Gwen as you all know but her as Jean Harlow? She needs to gain about 30lbs to even come close to looking like her. This lost to Million Dollar Baby which I never saw. I think they just wanted to drag out the Martin Scorsese losing streak until he a did a bad movie then let him win for that one as a general this is for all your amazing films. Sorry  I’m not a fan of the Departed. I know I’m one of the few.

Last year the Academy Awards were a total joke. The Social Network should have won. I know most of you saw it especially anyone that is on facebook which in this day and age is rarity to not be on it. Again great direction, acting (minus JT again sorry not a fan of his acting), and a great script. I think this lost out because it’s too relevant. The Academy doesn’t like pop culture too much, they would rather be thought of as dramatic, elegant, or just plain stuffy. The Social Network is like Pop Art give it 30 years and it will get it’s own special award.

Well there ya have it some of the films I think are worthy of best picture but never got the Oscar. We shall see what gets nominated this year I will probably only have seen two possible contenders. My Week with Marilyn and this weekend I’m seeing the Artist. Which I’m sure I will love but there’s no way in hell it would win a best picture Oscar it’s too unique.

Halloween, Halloween!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2011 by factorygirl82

Last year for my Halloween blog I wrote about my some of my favorite scary movies. I was hoping I’d have more to add to the list this year but really there’s not been anything to amazing. Insidious was the only one, it was very good. See it if you haven’t already.  So this year as it’s close to my heart and business I decided to write about costumes. Specifically handmade/put together costumes.

So as we know by now I’m a small business owner. A vintage clothing store owner to be exact. Halloween is one of my biggest times of the year. Unfortunately in the past couple of years my business has been hit, by the dreaded pop up Halloween shop. There are now three within about a mile of my business. Thanks guys. Now I don’t like these things because yes they take away from business but also they ruin the best part of Halloween…… Making your costume!

This is a friend of mine dressed up last year as Carmen San Diego. Awesome idea! Also costume bought at a thrift store! Cheap and not really gonna run into anyone with the same outfit.  The photo above that is me as the runner up for Miss Detroit 1958, I killed myself because I lost. I tend to like the bloody and macabre costumes. This year my boyfriend and I are going as John Dillinger after he was shot and I shall be the lady in red. Where are we finding our costumes? My shop, thrift stores, and home.

Friends of  mine as Tinker Bell and the Fifth Element. The Tinker Bell costume was made by her mother and the Fifth Element made at home and then had the suspenders made by a company. Again super original! Cheap! As a kid I would start planning my Halloween costume months in advance. I still do because it’s soooo much fun! I remember my mom taking my sister and I to Vogue fabrics in Evanston. We would pick out fabrics, go through pattern books, and in general just have a blast. My sister has an awesome Wonder Woman costume that she put together when she was about twenty. It’s better than any store bought one I’ve seen. All it required was card board, gold fabric, some glue, and again a trip to the thrift store. My favorite was the felt poodle skirt when I was a 1950s girl. Only mine didn’t have a poodle on it. It had a record. I loved that costume. I still have all of it. Circle skirt simple thing to make and again not gonna run into someone else with the same outfit.

Another friend of mine as the little boy from the movie “Up” Hilarious costume, especially this picture. I don’t understand not wanting to make your costume. It’s so fun! It doesn’t take that long and for girls that like to do the slut thing you can still be slutty without buying the “naughty cop” outfit. How sick am I of seeing that? I did the somewhat slutty costume two years ago.

Here I am as a cigarette girl. The dress was super short and low cut. I was wearing a massive push up bra. But put it together myself. You wont find this outfit in a Halloween store. I made my Parliament tray, bought three packs of cigs glued them to the tray, the rest were empty, and through out the night sold a cig for a buck. A great costume!

This is one of my favorite group costumes ever! A couple years ago when Beyonce “All the Single Ladies” was huge three girlfriends of mine did all the single Zombies. Hilarious! Original! Again not sold in stores.

My cousin and I as Mad Magazines Spy Vs. Spy. Not sold in stores. The funny thing with this one was we had to make our bomb and dynamite.  When we asked people at a Halloween store if they had a fake bomb or fake dynamite they looked at us like we asked them for a live baby.  Seriously of all the things for Halloween and fake TNT weirds you out? Again why they are lame not an ounce of originality in those places or a sense of humour.

I know planning a Halloween costume can be time consuming but seriously take an hour out of your week. If you’re having trouble with an easy idea or even a complex one stop by my shop I’ve got a list of great ideas. Also making your own costumes supports small business like me! Good Karma points, who doesn’t love a few extra Karma points? You’ll find if you go to most vintage stores to shop for costumes if they don’t have what you are looking for they can direct you to someone who does. I love Halloween. I can’t wait to have my Lady in Red costume put together. I can’t wait to hear all the original idea’s and help you guys put your outfits together!

Happy Halloween!

Fashion. Turn to the Left.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by factorygirl82

I was recently reading an article in Bazaar about and by a female fashion blogger. I being the space cadet I can be, forgot where I put it. The thing about this article that stood out to me, is it was about how she thought that she didn’t have a boyfriend or repelled men because of her love of fashion.  After reading this, the truth of the matter was it wasn’t that she “repelled” these potential suitors because of her love of fashion. It was because she wore high fashion even if it didn’t look good on her.  I’m not saying that you should dress to attract a mate, but one of the biggest problems in the fashion today, especially for women, is the not dressing for your body. It drives me positively nuts. There are just certain things that not every body type can wear and then there are certain things that it doesn’t matter if it’s couture it’s just ugly.

I googled what the trends for spring 2011 are and the above photo is what I found. I sometimes think that designers truly hate women. I get that runaway to department store are different. But if this is what I have to look forward to for spring, you better believe I’m doing what I always do and sticking to my 1950s dresses. There is not one thing in that line up of trends that looks good on me (or that I actually like but sticking to the point) The bright outfit my sister could definitely rock but that’s because she has a very different body type then me. She is tall, olive complexion, and slender. I am short, pale, and curvy. By curvy I mean actually curvy not plus size. One of my pet peeves is that curvy and plus size are different! I go in at the waist. Just like one of my favorite pin up models of the moment.

Doris Mayday.  She is a curvy girl like me and always wears garments that suit her body type.  I like my curves and I like to wear dresses that show them off. Like the one in the above photo. Doris is wearing a reproduction dress of a 1950s style. She looks fabulous, why? Because fashion use to celebrate a woman’s body type. It would cinch at the waist to show off the smallest part of you! One of the trends this season is the 1970s. This is wear, in my opinion women’s fashion started to take a turn for the worst. There was the high waisted pant, which normally I am a fan of a la the 1940s high waisted trouser but something in the 1970s design just went horribly wrong. Then there were hip huggers which I absolutely love but no way in hell would they ever look good on me or most of the female population in general. If you got hips it doesn’t work, why would you want to accentuate the largest part of you?

Seriously? Seriously? Again designers why do you hate women!? This is not high fashion this is hideous. I don’t care if you’re 5’11 110 lbs or 5,4 140 lbs it wont look good. It looks like a sagging diaper! This I distinctly remember the blogger saying she loved. Why? It wasn’t cute on Jasmin in Alladdin it wont be cute on ANYONE!

Now the above photo is from Mad Men. We have Betty, Joanie, and Peggy three women with three very different body types. They all look  great. They would turn heads of men and women walking down the street. Why? Because they are dressed for their body type. Yes it’s retro but it’s classic. These looks can be tweeked to be updated so you don’t feel like you’re in a costume. In general though the dresses fit each girl perfectly and flatter all three different body types.

Lastly my girl Bernie Dexter. She’s a tiny thing and she can wear a lot of different looks. She’s designs reproduction clothing and it’s amazingly cute.

I guess I just felt the need to get that off my chest. It took me a long time to realize that just because something is trendy doesn’t mean I can wear it. There are a lot of looks I love but not on me. I enjoy fashion. I love couture and can appreciate the art behind it. But there is a definite difference between couture, art, and hideous.

Just my opinion on modern fashion. I might be a little bias to the looks of old. Check out our etsy for dresses similar to these!

Hollywood Glamour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by factorygirl82

I realized as I’ve been writing this that I really haven’t given people an idea of what my fashion inspiration is, for shame! Like my taste in music my taste in fashion is super eclectic.  I’ve gone through many phases but one thing I always come back to is classic Hollywood Glamour.  Since I was a little girl the person I’ve thought to be the most beautiful in the world is Marilyn Monroe.  Even when she was still Norma Jean I thought she was beautiful. I still do. Marilyn just has that something it’s not necessarily sex appeal although she certainly has that, but to me she was just a goddess. No one could compare.

I was always a vintage gal even from a young age. One of my favorite Halloween costumes was also one of my sad moments in life.  I went as Lauren Bacall.  I wore a dress my mom had bought in the 1960s but was actually from the 1940s. It was that beautiful black silk velvet with lace trim and rhinestones. I definitely still have it but no way could I fit in it now! My momma was tiny! But anyway back to the story my mom did my hair and my sister put bright red lipstick on me and mascara. I felt like a movie star. Then I went trick or treating and had to explain to everyone who Lauren Bacall was. After a while I would grumpily reply “Humphrey Bogart’s Wife!” I was ten and thought everyone knew who Lauren Bacall was.  I always admired the bombshell actresses as well as the femme fatales.  I definitely felt out of place. Once at a bar mitzvah  one of my classmates asked me why my hair was up the way it was, my response “That was how they wore their hair in the 1940s” Then my life changed for the better….

I was fourteen sitting at home I think it was the summer for the stories sake we will just go with the summer. But I was watching MTV, back when they actually played music videos, and all of sudden there is this girl on screen. Platinum blonde hair, the coolest bangs  I’d ever seen, bright red lips, and dark brown eyes. She was like Betty Boop meets Marilyn Monroe! She wore her hair how I always wanted to and occasionally did (If I was feeling brave) she dressed in a way I could relate to!  Gwen Stefani rocked my world and she still does.  My sister actually took me to meet No Doubt at the merchandise mart here in Chicago I was so star struck I couldn’t say two words. I may have uttered “You’re cool” I’m not really positive I was trying not to faint.

But anywho just wanted to share a bit how my sense of fashion has molded itself through the years.  I def go through phases still but one things for sure I always come back to that old school Hollywood Glamour.

New Stuff on! Check it out under sellers type in Factorygirl82

Johnny Rotten

Bernie Dexter

Chola Style

My Girl of the moment

It's Britney Bitch!

Posh Spice!

My goddess

My Girl!