Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ode to Polkadots

For fear of seeming like a complete slacker, I thought I'd put together a little montage of my favorite polkadotty outfits from my archives. Enjoy! Next week will bring new outfits.

I may not own very many polka-dotted garments, but I wear what polkadots I do have quite often. I love polkadots. They make pattern mixing rather effortless.  Floral and polkadots: no-brainer.

And I have to gush again about how brilliant my boyfriend is at photography. The lighting is so beautiful and warm and romantic in this last photo. Gah, I love looking at it and remembering how pretty and warm and happy I felt when he was taking the photo.

Anywho...polkadots. They're great.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Au Revoir

Unfortunately, due to an insurmountable life schedule, I'm struggling to keep up with my little vintage shop. (I'm even struggling to keep up with my blog alone!) With how many cockamamie schemes I come up with in a day, I'm certain there will be future endeavors to come. But until then, I'm saying goodbye to my shop.

But don't cry! This is good news for you! In order to diminish my inventory (and free up some space in my miniscule closet) I'm giving everything away for 30% off. Including clearance! Just use code AUREVOIR at checkout.


These are just a few of the items on sale right now. Click here to peek at the rest! I have labels such as Ralph Lauren, St. John's Bay, and many more. My vintage pieces range from the 1940s-1990s.

And I promise next week there will be more outfit posts. Until then, click here to peruse previous outfits. Thank you, lovely friends, for reading and for allowing me to be human, frazzled and frizzy sometimes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Sunlight of Edward Hopper

Sweet Talk
by Billy Collins

You are not the Mona Lisa
with that relentless look.
Or Venus borne over the froth
of waves on a pink half shell.
Or an odalisque by Delacroix, 
veils lapping at your nakedness.
You are more like the sunlight
of Edward Hopper,
especially when it slants
against the eastern side
of a white clapboard house
in the early hours of the morning,
with no figure standing
at a window in a violet bathrobe,
just the sunlight,
the columns of the front porch
and the long shadows
they throw down
upon the dark green lawn, baby.


If you're wondering, the works of Edward Hopper are incredibly mundane and simple, yet they're equally beautiful and moving. The lighting is exquisite in his paintings. If dear Billy had said this to me, I would believe he saw me as down-to-earth and real, but still just as lovely and inspiring.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Determining the Age of Vintage Treasures (Part 2)

I'm glad you all enjoyed my recent post about determining the age of a vintage garment!
So last week, I explained that the easiest way to estimate the age of a garment is to look at its label. That truth extends here. But now we're looking at a very specific sort of label. It is the mark of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), which was formed in 1900.

Their emblem has changed over their years of operation, so it's possible to look at the labels and correlate them to their years. This first photo is of the label inside a petticoat of mine that was made in the 1950s. Unfortunately that is the earliest label I have, but you can find more photos here.

This is a dainty little blouse of mine that was made in the 1970s. Note that this label also includes the RN. (Click here to catch up on what an RN is.) Handy, isn't it?

And this label belongs to a wool skirt made in the 1980s.

Though you won't find this sort of label in all vintage clothing, at least now you can recognize it when you come across it.

Also, I would like to clarify that the things I have been discussing really only relate to US garments. I'm not very familiar with vintage from other countries. If you know anything about those, I'd be thrilled if you would do a guest post! Send me an email: rachelmarie@thequirkypoet.com

To see more photos and read more about the history of the ILGWU click here.
If you didn't catch last week's post, click here.
And be sure to come back next week for the final(?) installment.

Monday, February 20, 2012


"I have watched your smile in your sleep
and I know it is the boat 
in which my sun rides under the earth
all night on the wave of your breath
no wonder the days grow short
and waking without you
is the beginning of winter

"How is it that I can hear your bird voice now
trickling among the ice towers
through the days of the anvil
as the year turns I carry an echo
over my own stones and I listen
my eyes are open looking ahead
I walk a little ahead of myself touching
the air where nobody sees you
and the sun as it sets through the forest of windows
unrolls slowly
its unrepeatable secret
all the colors of autumn without the leaves

"You were shaking and an air full of leaves
flowed out of the dark falls of your hair
down over the rapids of your knees
until I touched you and you grew quiet
and raised to me
your hands and your eyes and showed me
twice my face burning in amber

"Already  on the first hill with you beside me
at the foot of the ruins I saw through the day
and went on without pausing
loving the unheld air
as a wing might love it flying
toward you unknowing

"When they are together our hands are of an age
and a dark light flows up between them
into its feathers
We have brought
nothing with us
but what has come of itself
we pass the stone fragments
the ancient smiles holding out
no hands
like the trees their sisters born older

"I trust neither memory nor expectation
but even the white days of cities
belong to what they do not see
even the heart of the doubters' light is gold
even when you are not with me
in the flowerless month of the door god
you look at me with your eyes of arrival

"Thirty days after the solstice
forms of ripe wheat
emerge from the tips of the branches
Far outside them
where you have never been
I reach for you with my eyes
I call you with my body
that knows your one name

"Days when I do not hear you 
it seems that the season flows backward
but it is only
of hollow streets
deaf smoke
rain on water

"We cross the smooth night lake together
in the waiting boat
we are welcomed without lights
again and again we emerge by day
hand in hand
from all four corridors at once
under the echoing dome
guided by what has not been said 

"The shadow of my moving foot 
feels your direction
you come toward me
bringing the gold through the rust
you step to me through the city of amber
under the moon and the sun
voice not yet in the words
what is spoken is already
another year."
-- W.S. Merwin


"Kore" by W.S. Merwin - to read the complete piece (nope, this isn't the whole thing), see his collection The Compass Flower.

Photos by Josh.

Glasses//Ray Ban
Dress (worn as blouse)//Vintage, 1980s
Skirt//Vintage, 1980s
Trench Coat//Vintage, Thrifted
Cardigan//Charlotte Russe
Shoes//Vintage, 1980s via The Paraders

Friday, February 17, 2012

If you kiss said she

May I Feel
by e.e. cummings

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she
(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she
(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she) 

may i stay said he
which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she

but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she
(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)


Though I do not condone an affair whatsoever, this piece is one of my favorites. The rhythm is just so playful and giggly. Even if you don't like poetry much, you have to admit that this one is fun.

Want more poetry? Look here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Determining the Age of Vintage Treasures

You've probably noticed that I'm obsessed with vintage. Not only do I love vintage for its uniqueness, but also because clothing holds history in the fibers of its fabric. Current events always influence the appearance of our clothing, so by looking at vintage we can learn about our history. 

When I buy vintage, part of the thrill is to be able to research the garment and find out when it came into existence. There isn't much information on the internet about determining the age of a vintage garment, so I thought I'd share with you what knowledge I've gleaned from my researching. It's not very much, and I'm always learning new things, but I'll still break it into three posts. Because this is a blog and not a novel.

(This Brunny sweater vest was made in the 1960s.)

One of the fastest ways to estimate the age of a garment is to look at its label. Garments made after 1959 usually have assigned numbers printed on their labels. The very first number in the sequence is 13670, and these numbers are called registration numbers (RN's).When a clothing company is birthed, it is assigned one of these numbers. 

(This Judy's circle skirt was made in the 1980s.)
Because the numbers are assigned only when the company is created, it does not determine the exact manufacture date of a garment. But it does give a good reference point. For instance, if you think an article of clothing was made in the 1930s, but it has an RN, you know right away that your first assumption was incorrect. So while it doesn't give a definitive answer, it does point you in the right direction. More research should be done once you know the RN and its issue date.

(This Charlotte Russe jean skirt was made in the late 2000s.)
To learn more about RNs and the formula for calculating an RN's approximate issue date click here.

And be sure to come back next week for part two!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Valentine?

Happy Valentine's Day from Meep and Merp!
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

(and from me too 'cause I love youse guys)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Is Blind...

...and so am I. Do ya like my new spectacles? Well, I love them! They're totally dorky, endearing, and exactly what I wanted.

I've worn glasses since I was ten, but my eyes are so terrible now that the large E at the top of the eye chart looks like a fuzzy, hostile smudge. When I was little, I thought that everybody saw things in the indistinct, blurry way I did.  You can imagine how delighted I was when I got to see that the Moon's craters are actually visible from Earth.

My first pair of glasses were bifocals. After my exam, the optician wrote me a prescription for free bagels at The Bagel Place, which was across the hall from his office. An optician who wrote prescriptions for free cream cheese covered carbohydrates obviously knew what he was doing, putting a pitiful, awkward ten year old in bifocals.

Ok, so I'm still a little awkward, but at least my glasses aren't bifocals anymore. That helps a lot.

Outfit Details:

Linked up here.

Glasses//Ray Ban
Earrings//Charlotte Russe
Blazer//Vintage, 1980s

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Featured Poet: Leanna Kay

The Castle Built With Rocks That Fell into the Sea
by Leanna Kay

I built a castle with rocks that fell into the sea
And sailed a paper boat on silver lakes as sad as me.
I drank up all the happiness and moonlight with a breath,
While fallen skies and weary eyes danced with life and death.

Before the dark had settled and the sun was painted red,
We danced like daunting lovers. Our love trickled from a thread.
Garden full of white wood trees, we mingled and we sung.
Laughing eyes and foolish ties, we let ourselves be young.

While we played in the vines, I cut my fingertips
On the thorns of yellow roses, blood began to drip.
I cried out, “Where did you go?” I crept into a sleep.
Into my veins a poison cold and harsh began to seep.

When I woke, you were there, but you were not the same.
You never spoke. You smiled, but you wouldn't say my name.
My body, weak and wilted, I stood up and swayed to you.
You didn't try to catch me; like a ghost I fell right through.

You sang a song, enchanting, and it almost quelled my hurt
Until I saw my home of ivory, stained with dust and dirt.
My heart, so sick, so dull, so thin, tried to grasp your hand,
But as you looked away I slipped into a starless land.

Alone, inside the castle built with rocks that fell into the sea,
I watch you through the windows, glossy as can be.
You dance with someone else in a garden fine and fair,
And I'll remember you, though you forgot that I was there.


Featured Poet: Leanna Kay is one of the sweetest bloggers in the whole blogosphere. Her poetry always brings to mind Alfred Lord Tennyson. Isn't it so beautiful? This piece pulls at my heart each time I read it. If you'd like to read more of her work, take a little trip to her blog.
Are you a poet? I'd love to feature your original work!
Submission Guidelines:
Subject matter is not limited, though profanity is discouraged.
You must be a follower of The Quirky Poet.
You may send your poems to rachelmarie@thequirkypoet.com.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Love Vintage

To some, vintage is just nasty, used, outdated clothing. But what’s the difference between wearing a garment that’s thirty years old and wearing a piece of clothing you purchased from Target after dozens of people have tried it on in the dressing room? If you’re so afraid of cooties, toss it into the wash, take it to the cleaners, or remain a germophobe and leave all the pretty treasures for me.

Five reasons I love wearing vintage:
1. Uniqueness. Wearing vintage clothing means wearing pieces that are no longer sold in large quantities. You’re less likely to bump into someone on the street who is wearing the same outfit. 

2. Recycling. Upcycling. Whatever you want to call it. Wearing vintage means you’re lengthening the lifespan of a garment rather than exiling it to the trash can and later, the landfill. 

3. History. When I buy a piece of vintage, part of the thrill is to be able to research its origin. Learning where a piece came from gives me pride in my wardrobe. It makes my clothes special. It gives them meaning. (More about determining the age of a garment next week.)

4. Modern trends suck. And keeping up with them is a wearisome task.
Also, though sweatpants are very comfortable, wearing them in public is not attractive. I repeat: not attractive. 

5. Creativity. Vintage clothing has a way of inspiring the mind. When I wear a piece from 1950, I can picture that time period in my mind and wonder what the woman who first wore the piece felt like when she wore it. 

How do you feel about wearing vintage?

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mon petit placard.

    So this is my little bedroom and my closet. The reason the closet appears so sparse is because all the clothes are piled on the bed after laundry day. My room tends to be rather chaotic, and none of my bedding matches. But what did you expect of a quirky poet?

    I kind of like taking photos in here...being inside means I get to listen to music. And then pose ridiculously because I’m dancing around like a five year old watching Spongebob. 
    I also get to be with my bestemest furry friend Pea, who likes all my mismatched blankets.

    Outfit Details:

    Shorts//Vintage, BONGO 1980s
    Tights//Vera Wang for Kohl's
    Boots//Vintage, Ebay

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Where I Am

    Though I don’t have the pleasure of attending the IFB Conference this month, I will be making a trip to NYC in March for a writing conference. This will be my first time in New York. While I’m incredibly thrilled, I’m also incredibly frightened. 

    See, I’m directionally challenged. Navigation is not one of my talents. I get lost in my own town, so I will likely be meandering hopelessly through the streets of New York with a GPS system in my hands and a glassy, bewildered expression in my eyes. 

    Thinking about what I’ll wear there...probably exactly what I wear when I’m home. I don’t worry much about fitting into my environment. I don’t fit in here, so it makes no difference to me whether or not I fit into the New York aesthetic. 

    Clothes aren’t so much about where I am geographically. I dress according to where I am in my mind. (And according to the temperature because no matter how strong the will, I cannot conquer the climate.)

    People often ask me why do you wear that. I like to dress as though I’ve just climbed out of a novel. I like to look intriguing and whimsical because that’s where I am in my mind. I wear it because I like it. Because it makes me feel good about myself and good about my world. Because it’s comfortable. Because it inspires me and tells a story. Why would I wear something that didn’t accomplish those things? 

    Why do you wear what you wear? Does it depend upon where you are on the globe?
    Photos by Josh. 
    Don't you love the awesome effects he used? He's such a genius. 
    To see more of his snazzy photography, click here.
    Earrings//The Quirky Poet
    Trench Coat//Vintage, thrifted
    Purse and Shoes//ModCloth

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