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January 21, 2015

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Everyone Wants to be Audrey

Some days I think I should have called my store, "Everyone Wants to be Audrey." There are infinite number of reasons why I did not. However, I must say that many customers over the past few weeks have come in asking for precisely that look...Audrey.

We all hold her in very high regard- from her classic movies to her classic style. I can't tell you how many times I have watched Roman Holiday or Sabrina. Too many to count.

Audrey's movies and fashion popularity sends us back to a time when clothing was classic in line, style, fabric and 'essence.' She single-handedly brought the 'Little Black Dress' (LBD) to the forefront. 

The signature 'Audrey' silhouette takes more forms than just the LBD...she wore funky caftans, loud pantsuits and, yes, she even made fashion faux pas like all of us.

I want to point out that one of the reasons I am so drawn to Audrey is because of her infectious smile, zest for life and tremendous sense of 'moving on' from sadness and yes, heartache. Her life was not always easy-breezy. 

One of the reasons Audrey's waist was the size it was- was because she was severely malnourished as a child. It was not an ideal beginning for her. Her adult life was not always about Oscar Parties and clothing: She had numerous personal heartbreaks too. She remained gracious and composed through it all. 

The end of her life finally found her with the 'man of her dreams' doing philanthropic work with children, travelling to places less-than-idyllic to make a difference in the world to those far less privileged and broken. THIS is the Audrey I think about and wish to emulate.

She was a classy lady in looks, word and deed. She still stands out as one of the world's famous women. I am happy to know it isn't always about the looks- but much more importantly- her spirit. I am so glad it lives on.

Having said that, I think all of us would like to have a little "Audrey' sprinkled on us like fairy dust. Her 'Sparkle' was one-of-a-kind.

 

 

January 14, 2015

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Fun Times

Hello Dear Auburn Friends!

Another cold day here in Conestogo...but the sun is shining and all is well. 

I wanted to share what went on at the store last week because I think it's important to note that friends and community are so very important- no matter what industry you work in. 

I was approached only 2 weeks after the store opened by a group of ladies who thought it might be fun to have a 'Girl's Night Out' at the store- complete with a fashion show. Why not? They were enthusiastic, and were able to provide 6 models from their group on the spot. I quickly agreed- and am so happy I did!

The next few weeks brought 6 amazing women into my store. They had each volunteered to be models for the Girl's Night Out Evening. On average, I spent about 2 hours with each of them while they tried on as many outfits as their hearts desired. Great conversation, connection and fun! I felt so honoured that these busy, professional (not to mention all gorgeous) women would take the time to do this. It's what makes my work so much fun and rewarding.

The evening of the event came, and I was nervous: Would they like the store, enjoy themselves, like the pieces we had chosen to highlight? Thoughts of nobody showing, looks of disapproval, boredom were my worries to name a few.

I was wrong!

That evenng, the store was home to about 20 ladies who brought an energy to the store that was warm, supportive and heaps of fun. They were so encouraging of the models and of each other as they tried things on after the fashion parade. The models were fantastic, and as the evening went on I saw a comfort come over them that was truly magical. They all looked beautiful, but it was evident that they FELT beautiful- and believed the group when they complemented them. 

In a cold climate where our natural tendency is to hibernate and stay in, it might be safe to say that when given an opportunity to get out and be with friends- do it! We are all energized by fun, laughter and community.  I was lucky enough to see it transform the faces and demeanour of my beautiful guests...and hope to host another event like this again soon.

Thank you, dear ladies. It was a pleasure. 

 

January 05, 2015

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Thoughts on Shopping and Weather

Yes- a very odd title indeed. What in the world do shopping and the weather have in common? 

MORE THAN YOU KNOW!!

Today I spent a few hours visiting some favourite haunts in search of vintage treasures (got some great things...shoes, coats, a really pretty gown...). The problem is: I live in Canada. It is January, and it is C-O-L-D!

For those of us who live in cold climates, it is important to note that a mere trip to the store can constitute a very long, tedious. agonizing, preposterous dressing process. Is this a fair statement?

As a little girl, I would resent the hours spent dressing for recess and lunch-time outdoor play (I can only imagine the poor teachers who had to deal with the infinite paraphernalia that goes into 'appropriate winter attire'). It took so long to put on snow pants, snow suits, hats, gloves, scarves and, as always, the ever-exhausting snow boots that nine times out of ten would have a lining missing. Reverse the 'clothing on' time to taking it all off again. I clearly remember the missing socks that got stuck in my boots, or (my favourite) the big puddle that I'd often step in on the way to class- guaranteeing a wet sock for the rest of the day.

Ah- childhood is a magical time, isn't it?!

Even as an adult, it is a much longer process to get ready for the day during the colder months.  What to wear out just for a bag of milk can take a while. If it's raining: Waterproof. Snowing and blowing: Down-filled. And the list goes on.The simplest errand turns into more time, making sure the right coat, footwear, gloves, hat and scarf are either on us or with us. I cheerfully call the above items the 'just in case factor.'

Coming back to my day of shopping for a moment. I realized too late that I had worn 3 layers of clothing plus a coat and scarf to the store. Outside, I was as snug as a bug...but when I went inside the store, I very quickly became an incubator. Instead of shedding a layer or two, I couldn't be bothered to take anything off, so chose to ignore it. Problem...I could feel myself on the verge of passing out. 

My 'vintage search' came to an earlier end than I anticipated. My fault completely.

For a long time I was against wearing fur. When I was a very young girl, my Mom had a muskrat coat that I used to snuggle up to whenever she wore it. When I became a teenager, I was against anything fur. As I am now older and have many beautiful coats at the store, (both real and faux fur) I can safely say that when I wear the fur, I am always warm. There is a reason why people for centuries have worn fur- precisely to keep warm. I am not sure about the more modern fur garments- but all my vintage pieces are toasty-warm.

I realize that this is a controversial and somewhat sensitive issue for some. I get it. All I can say is that today, if I had worn a fur coat, I would have only had to shed one layer. 

 

 

January 01, 2015

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Life of a Vintage Girl

Happy New Year Friends and Family of Auburn Vintage Clothiers!

This is the first official Blog for Auburn. Time to get acquainted with you- so I will give you the story of the store in segments...how does that sound? 

Auburn has been in the works for many years without me even knowing it. It is certainly a passion that has in some amazingly wonderful way become my work. Here is the beginning of my story:

As a young girl, my friends would come over to my house and we'd play dress up. The home I grew up in had the most amazing attic, and we'd all gallop up to the third storey to see what kind of treasures we could find. 

I can remember taking an antique wicker push chair out to the yard and parading each other around in it. We would wear old lace shawls, bonnets, gloves and strings of pearls, pretending to be doddering, fragile old ladies, dramatically wiping our eyes with the troubles of life. 

This was a weekly event.

For years and years (and members of my family can attest to this) I have bought vintage dresses, hats, handbags, scarves etc, etc that literally called my name..."Buy me! You NEED me!" I could hear them from aisles away in various Thrift Stores, garage sales and, in some cases, the attics or basements of friends and family.

I have kept these items and leant them out to many, but mostly had them to inspire me (and, to be honest, it's always nice to put a pretty dress on when one feels a bit down). Those who know me well are well aware of my obsession with pretty, funky, classy, 'interesting' frocks of varying eras and style. (Like I said, the clothes 'speak' to me...it's like they are aching to tell me their stories).

After many ups and downs in my life, it was time to do something that made my heart happy. My daughter is growing up fast, and as a single Mom I could very clearly see my life without her one day as she goes out in the world to pursue her own goals and dreams. So- it was time to take a HUGE leap of faith and write a business plan. A WHAT??? Yes- a plan. That meant talking money and banks and insurance people and scary things like that....hmmm....maybe not.

However....inside my overstuffed closets came the muffled sound of a 1950's gown (or 10)..."Let us OUT! We want to be seen!" 

How could I argue with that?