A girl in every port with Larry McKaughan

Larry McKaughan vintage Americana Wallpaper* magazine

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The good thing about travelling with Virgin is that they give you a free copy of Wallpaper* as you board – a vast improvement on the token Daily Mail you usually get when flying, although I do still advocate a copy of Heat for when you’re three gins in and just need to look at pictures of Kim Kardashian.

One of the features I was particularly taken with this time was a spread on Larry McKaughan, Seattle’s very own King of Vintage. Larry collects American workwear, specialising in pre-1930s menswear – Levi’s from the 1800s, deadstock Carhartt, Depression-era Bone Dry workboots… How’s about that for niche?

Interestingly, the profile reveals that it’s often Japanese denim collectors who are interested in his pieces, helping sales reach around $2milion per year. I wish some of that money would go towards giving him a shiny new website where we could study every inch of his collection, but there we go. (I guess that’s what the book’s for.)

I could have read loads about Larry, but sadly he was only a small part of the overall feature. His pieces, however, made up a lovely photographic spread documented by Kyle Johnson. He really brings to life the character of each garment – wouldn’t you love to know more about the stories behind each of these?

My favourite from the collection was this WWI-era US Marines sniper jacket, which has hand-drawn ladies on the inside – the theme is ‘a girl in every port’. It’s valued at around $12,000! Click on either of the pictures above for a better look – Miss Canal Zone is my favourite.

[Top image: Kyle Johnson]

Hawaiiron Maiden

iron maiden hawaii shirt 1985 iron maiden hawaii shirt 1985

My boyfriend came across this Iron Maiden Hawaii tour shirt the other day and it was just so magical that we have both become rather obsessed with it. Sadly it’s estimated at around £1,500 on eBay these days but I feel confident that my vintage skillz might pay off.

Things to love; Eddie surfing atop a shark, a volcano, pineapples in the sea, ‘aloha 1985’

Our trip to Hawaii (well, amongst other places) was the best thing in my life and Iron Maiden are up there too. It’s a simple request – if you see this shirt for less than £!,500, let me know.

I mean, I guess, I shouldn’t have given the value away… but say you see it for £10 in a shop, I’ll make it £100. That’s a good deal, right?

#hawaiironmaiden

Channelling my inner Cher with Brag Vintage

bang vintage sheffieldbang vintage sheffieldCher crochet top

All I’ve ever wanted in life is to look like Cher, so when I spotted this 60s crochet top on the Brag Vintage site, it was a done deal. Next step, black hair dye and eyelash extensions.

Brag Vintage is a new Sheffield secondhand store (you can see my round up of all of ’em here) except that they have the added bonus of being based entirely online. That’s right; all the good stuff about northern vintage shopping (cheap, great, plentiful) without even having to board an East Midlands train.

I’ll leave you to investigate the site at your leisure, but I do feel duty bound to inform you that there are loads of really nice coats on there at the moment – that’s a top vintage-shopping tip right there, btw. Always buy vintage coats online in summer, especially amidst a heat wave. The last thing any sane person wants to do is browse heavy wool jackets or fur coats (HIYA) so you always get a bargain and the best choice.

Also into: this floral maxi; this BHS logo t-shirt (why not?) and this nice knitted cami.

Outfit plans above – I do think denim cut-offs would be more Cher, but I clearly don’t have the legs for that. Instead I’ll opt for my olde faithful vintage maxi skirt (bought it on the first day at uni, wear it weekly); weird vintage sunglasses-case handbag and equally olde faithful earrings, that I got in a goodie bag at a QVC press day about five years ago and also continue to wear weekly.

A few new Sheffield vintage finds

Really enjoying Picnik’s galactic overlays – let’s hope they keep them even when NASA-mania has calmed down.

Excitingly, I am writing this in the Forum in Sheffield – one of my favourite hangouts for the past… 16 years? Back in the old days it was full of vintage, record stores and head shops – it’s a little more gentrified these days but I was really happy to see that they have got a bustling array of boutiques open again now, after a few years in the wilderness. The shops may come and go, but the bar has always been great and holds universal appeal – everyone I know likes it here because it manages to cater to everyone without compromising on its own ~vibe~. Presently enjoying a pea and chorizo risotto and glass of wine while listening to the Drifters, while students sit outside in the sun and drink pints and groups from work have lunch… etc. etc… it’s an appealing spot for anyone.

Anyway – two new shops have sprung up since I last ventured in to the Forum and I’m pleased to report that I shopped at them both. I will add them to my Sheffield vintage guide soon but here’s a quick update.

Lottiebel’s Boutique

An unabashedly feminine boutique selling vintage, nice bits of jewellery and the usual cool postcards and knick-knacks you tend to find. I bought my mysterious orange item here, as well as much more tasteful brown leather belt with snazzy horse buckle. As is seemingly always the way in Sheffield, the vintage is cheap and quality and the staff are brilliant. Swoon. The lovely owner Lottie convinced me to buy said orange item but not in a salesy way – more the kind of enthusiasm you get when you’re shopping with a friend and you get psyched because you find something awesome that you can’t quite believe is so cheap. Lottie also found me and my mum standing outside another shop the next day and advised me on their opening hours to save me hanging around like a goon, which is customer service of the highest order in my eyes.

Find Lottiebel’s Boutique in the Forum, 127-129 Devonshire Street, Sheffield S3 7SB or follow on Twitter here!

Syd and Mallory

Handily located directly opposite Lottiebel’s, Syd and Mallory also offers a wide array of vintage, modern accessories and reconstructed bits – see, chunky knits with studded shoulder pads and cut and paste dresses combining two frocks in one. Syd and Mallory also stocks furniture which ended up being the reason I visited three times in the course of my weekend visit… We ended up, eventually, buying an utterly fabulous gold and mirrored 1930s drinks cabinet for £30 with free delivery!!!!!!!111 I love Sheffield. Syd and Mallory actually occupies (one of) the old site(s) of Freshman’s, so I’m glad to see it being put to good use. Sheffield has always been green for vintage furniture and house accessories, but there’s not been much so central for a long time so I can see myself spending rather a lot of time and money there over the next few months…

Find Syd and Mallory also in the Forum, address as above, or find them on Facebook here!

Best eBay buy ever: Moschino letter satchel

I wear my beloved Moschino belt pretty much every single day of my life, so in a bid to give it a break I bought this handbag. Now I can enjoy tacky 80s brass letters every day, whether the outfit suits a belt or not.

Actually, one of the reasons I bought this bag was for Primavera. I do like to buy an entire new themed wardrobe for every eventuality and it suddenly dawned on me that although I have about 40 handbags, I don’t have a brown one with a short strap, which is OBVIOUSLY the only kind of bag suitable for a Spanish beachfront festival. Doy.

Good job this was on eBay, and that the sale ended on Bank Holiday Friday after I’d had three pints of Alpine. Fate!

I love Blue Velvet Vintage

One of the best things about having a twin, is that she routinely blogs about things that I like; thus making my life easier. Instead of actually thinking what to write about myself, I just copy her. Neat, huh? Today I spotted her post about Blue Velvet Vintage, so that’s what I’m writing about too.

My favourite thing in this superior vintage store is this reversible camel and leopard print cape. Totally BOT, but also, I’m sure you’ll agree, timeless. Mmm-hmm.

Also, do we want to talk about this 1940s Mexican-print pant suit? I don’t know, I mean, I guess if you were hosting a Mexican-themed party for some of your friends in a couple of weeks, maybe you’d be justified in buying it?

Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg in the 40s and 50s

Exciting news for those of you as predictable as me: the Horrockses exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum is opening tomorrow!

Horrockses Fashion was launched as a subsidiary to Horrockses Cottons in 1946. At the time, the Cotton Board was really pushing cotton as a dressmaking fabric – the austere rationing of the war years lingered long after 1945, and encouraging shoppers to avoid silks and rayon was less fashion choice, more lifestyle change. Cotton had previously been seen as a cheapo option – not really something the stylish lady about town would be interested in. Still, when all your silk has been used for parachutes, what you gonna do about it?

Against the odds, Horrockses’ printed designs soon became popular – largely thanks to some clever marketing involving glamorous film stars of the era and, of course, some really beautiful prints.

If full skirts, chintz and vintage fashion are up your street, I suggest you pay a visit to this drool-enducing exhibition, curated by author and design historian Dr Christine Boydell.

Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg in the 40s and 50s is in from 9 July to 24 October at the Fashion and Textiles Museum. They also have some great lectures and activities planned – find out more at their website.

On the hunt for a feather cape

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be aware that for the past few months I’ve been obsessing over what to wear for my friends’ upcoming swanky wedding. Sorry about that. I’ve finally bought something I love from Cocosa so we’re all sorted on that front, now it’s just a case of finding the right props to jazz the look up.

I have the ASOS bunny hat but I’m not sure whether or not to wear it… The trickiest thing about this wedding is that I haven’t seen most of the guests since university. Back in those days I was a fashion student and Mr Fur Coat and all his friends, including the bride and groom and all the guests, were doing proper degrees. They’re all awesome people but I quite often felt like the dickhead fashion student in my novelty outfit and I’d hate for them to think I was still the same bozo I was back then.

What I’m after is a feather cape. Don’t mind that last paragraph, a feather cape isn’t a fancy dress item, it’s a serious, chic fashion statement. Right? Anyway, I didn’t realise it would be so hard to find such a thing but a cursory eBay search reveals very little. It does, however, come up with millions of fly fishing ‘feather capes’ [above] — did you know it was a kind of tackle? No, me neither. They’re quite stylish actually, but probably just about big enough to make a novelty shoulder pad.

Here are some other options, none of which are quite doing it for me.

Kate Moss for Topshop feather cape. Something about those colours man… it’s just not working. Sold out anyway, available on eBay of course.

Obviously I’m not the one getting married, but if I was I’d probably wear this Jenny Packham ‘Cygnet’ Ostrich Feather Cape. Quelle beast.

Good ol’ ASOS. This Premium Feather Cape is rather appropriate, but still not quite spot on and for such a ludicrous purchase it needs to be right, right?

As an example of what’s ‘right’, take note of this Edwardian ostrich feather cape. It’s bloody lovely. Seen one anywhere?

Topshop takes on the 1920s

Following on from my last post, I just wanted to quickly post this totally flapper-esque Topshop dress which I saw this morning. It’s part of their ‘exclusive’ collection and I think it’s absolutely awesome. Shame drop waists don’t suit me in any way, shape or form because otherwise I’d be snapping this bad boy up.

Zig Zag Bead Shift Dress, £130, Topshop

Funnily enough, after watching Gatsby this morning I was browsing one of my favourite vintage archive sites for swooning purposes and came across this dress from c.1926. I see you Topshop, I see you.