Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On a Clear Day...

One Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, while running to get from work to M's acting recital, I discovered two great places to shop. It's more accurate to say that I finally acknowledged two great places to shop - as they have been on my radar for a while now. One, Ukele on College St., an avant garde cafe cum studio cum purveyor of Japanese and Scandi designers, will be the subject of another post.

This post will cover the other place - Refinery Vintage on Markham Street (just south of Bloor). I should start by saying that I only had 5 minutes to glance in on my way to the recital. It was more of a meet-and-greet than shopping experience, though my eye does rove even as I chat at lightning speed. The proprietor, Cher, is a friendly woman with a great eye for vintage. She opened the place about 8 months ago (before, it was a vintage wedding gown shop, some of which she inherited) and has amassed a fine collection from 30s to 80s pieces. The ambience is homey and Cher is gorgeous with an excellent haircut (blonde, blunt bob). She has a kind of vintage theatricality about her - but not because she dresses all dramatically. (I mean, I've met her twice. Maybe some days she does. But not the days when I met her. )

At any rate, on that Wednesday I went in to do the whirlwind once over, which made me entirely certain I'd need to return at my earliest opp. Hence my second visit on the following Saturday, once again with my gorgeous red-headed friend B, who found a new crop of terrific things at great prices. We both got very lucky!

I'll post my finds over the next few days, but let's get the ball rolling with this:

Vintage Sailor Dress (60s), Zebra-patterned kitten heels from Balisi

This look is such a departure for me! I actually scooped it up because I thought it would be perfect on B. with her dainty figure and auburn hair. I mean, the thing is practically empire (read it the French way, that's how I'm hearing it) with a ruffle hem and a naval theme. And while I love that in principal, it's rather over-the-top: Not to put to fine a point on it, it's veritably jazz-handing the tits. Not to mention it doesn't lend itself to a cover-up, what with its whacky fitted here / loose there cut.

I guess sometimes you gotta buy something because it sings to you. This one was kind of a crooner. I ask you, name one girl who can resist that?


  1. Very nice indeed, that dress was made for you, it suits you perfectly. Keep on with the vintage...it looks like you are really on to something fabulous!

  2. One must always obey the singing voice.

    I love this color and look on you.

  3. Crisp and summery. You'll look cool in this even when the pavement is steaming!

  4. The dress looks like a fantastic fit....

  5. the dress is fab but I never seem to fall out of love with a z-print shoe.

  6. "Jazz-handing the tits" is the descriptive phrase of the month, if not the season.

    I have never had any luck with vintage. Not even shoes.

  7. Wendy: Thank you!

    Bronwyn: You are so sweet. I really do love vintage shopping. It doesn't always fit, but when it does it can be such a special find! BTW, loved your photo post. Do more of them...

    Enc: Merci! I say, ignore the singing at your own peril. PS - Those photos of your parents were very moving. They told such a story. Miss C is right - your father's pic looks like he should be on a book jacket. I'd love to hear more about his writing career.

    Miss C: I thought you would approve of the nautical theme!

    Susie: Thanks so much for your comment. When my friend tried it on, it looked great on her except it was too big in the boobs. It's one of those deceptively buxom dresses they liked to make 40 years ago (that they don't make nearly enough of today - esp. at the cost of fabric!) When one is a curvy girl, one revels in the rare moments that a dress fits both in the shoulders and the chest.

    Imelda: But of course. No other shoe seemed up to the task of the dress.

    Susanna: Thanks so much for commenting because I didn't know if the phrase worked or not. Given that you approve, I'm sure it's genius :-) You know, with vintage, the shoes are the hardest fit. (You did say you had big feet, yes? Well shoes were all made in crazy tiny size back in the day.)

  8. Oh very nice. A little bit Heide, and little bit Pearl Harbour. If I could just find one like that here for me too. :)

  9. SKM: Hilarious comment. I'm always looking for a little Pearl Harbour in my outfits...

  10. Etoilee: LOL. I love the idea of being a sassy sailor!