A few times a year, there are vintage clothing shows in Los Angeles, where vendors from the city and surrounding regions (sometimes as far as Washington or Texas) sell clothing and accessories, generally spanning the entire 20th century. Even though I was financially challenged in the last year because I was saving for the wedding, I still went to a few of these. The trouble with this is that I inevitably found something fabulous that I couldn't afford: for example, an insanely amazing Lilli Ann suit. I had to make the grown up choice to save the money for the wedding and not buy it, even though it fit me perfectly. I think it was this one:
Trust, I felt in this suit exactly like she does. Blissful, adored, graceful, ready to receive flowers and experience romance. I don't have a picture of me wearing this suit because I didn't want to want it even more, but I did become overly preoccupied with the idea of finding another one that fit me as well and was either less expensive or found after the wedding had been paid for. It's funny, because when I first got into vintage clothes, I didn't really care about designers or labels. But after a couple years of research and figuring out what I really like, I started to get more obsessed with having a few pieces from some recognizable names like Ceil Chapman, Claire McCardell, Don Loper and, of course, Lilli Ann. I think part of this has to do with my fondness for finding treasures, the thrill of the hunt and all that. It has to do with wanting quality pieces. But as a designer (of pixels, not clothes) it also has to do with recognizing talent and giving due credit. So when I wrote a really whiny post a while back about buying what I considered to be a knockoff suit, I was mostly focused on 1) being upset that work had been copied for profit, and 2) manifesting my guilt over treating myself to a beautiful suit while I was supposed to be saving for the wedding.
Now that the wedding is over and everyone got paid and I don't have to feel so guilty anymore, I realize that I missed an opportunity to appreciate both the shops and the garment itself. Regardless of who made it, that piece is still stunning and worth every penny. It's well made and I look fabulous in it, and I'm glad I got it. I had basically come to this conclusion quietly on my own (in fact, I went back to the store a few weeks later to buy an incredible Kahala two piece playsuit). But when I ran into the perpetually elegant couple that owns Joyride and Elsewhere Vintage at the expo yesterday, it finally dawned on me that I had publicly been a total jerk about it. Well, I'm not a jerk (at least I hope not), and I didn't make this clear enough before: these people know their stuff, offer incredible quality at very reasonable prices, and visiting their shops is fun enough that I happily made the 1+ hour drive more than once in a month. Also, what other shop in Southern California offers exclusively high quality vintage menswear and excellent customer service? There might be one, but I haven't been to it. I don't know if I was just being a stressed out bride, or I assumed no one would read it (actually that's true), but when I bought another suit from them yesterday, I realized how dumb I'd been and that I had to make amends somehow. So this is me trying to do that. Oh, and here's the new suit - no misguided buyer's remorse this time:
Right? Perfectly tailored, incredible condition, everything you want to see in a Lilli Ann. Details, details:
Originally, this little tail probably had a fox trim on the end, like this:
but the fact that mine doesn't works out great for me, since I can't bring myself to buy or wear fur anyway.
So. Turns out I got the lesson wrong before. While I didn't end up being able to afford some of the things I'd wanted for the wedding, like the 1920's themed photo booth and rented vintage lounge furniture, the party was full of joy and beauty and missing these things ultimately didn't matter. At the end of the day, I have two fabulous suits and an interesting piece of fashion history, and the memories of basically the best wedding ever.