Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Art of Being a Girl Scout

While out venturing last week, I found myself face to face with quite a few vintage uniform pieces.

Browsing through swaths of dresses, as always the color green jumped out at me. The color green, with a collar, long sleeves and button front? I was intrigued. The instant I liberated this garment from the rack and drew my attention to the tag I developed a sudden urge to eat an entire box of Samoa cookies. Oh yes, it was a vintage Girl Scout uniform dress!

This dress was the standard issue in the 1950s. I was surprised that this particular piece was lacking any patches, but maybe it belonged to a Girl Scout underachiever (kind of like me, really only in it for the cookies!). Here’s an image of how the dress would look complete with patches and neck scarf:

For your sake, I've restrained myself from embarking on a lengthy diatribe about the politics of the Girls Scouts and the imagery as a signifier for the enhancement of separate spheres of masculinity and femininity in the 1950s. [You’re welcome!]

Girl Scouts have been on my mind as a result of this find, and after a little digging I found a treasure trove of pertinent historic images and artifacts, thanks to the Vintage Girl Scout Museum website.


After perusing the “Girl Scout Beauty Kit” section, I wonder what the girls were scouting back in those days.

Anyway, digressing from my cynicism, the images and visual components of this stuff is getting me a riled up! Check out the section The Art of Being a Girl Scout! The set of six Christmas cards featuring silhouetted Girl Scouts participating in the joys of the season…. from 1932! The simplicity of the black white and red color scheme is striking! Right up the Merryweather alley!

It's almost enough to make me want to buy some candy canes.... before Thanksgiving! [That's a lofty statement for this camper!]

Happy Thanksgiving friends! Enjoy the time with your family and friends!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Freedam" Never Looked So Good

Last Friday at BAV (Belmont Army Vintage) I spent the day with Shin. He recently moved here from Japan with his wife.... He sells wholesale and has a warehouse full of rare mens items. He's hoping to one day have his own store in Chicago (like me and Kel!) so we have a lot in common and spend way too much time talking about 60s furniture and estate sales when we're together. I'm trying to help him with his english (particularly understanding the various levels of sarcasm that Americans tend to have myself included and he is in exchange helping me with my Japanese which I will admit needs a lot of work. Hopefully with time, I'll improve. Fingers crossed! I want to be able to at least not feel completely lost when I venture to Japan in a few years.

Anyway, on this particular Friday we spent a big chunk of time looking through Rin Tanaka's vintage collection books titled " My Freedam." He has nine volumes, with more to come including one based solely on t-shirts, hippies, and 60s pop fashion. Steve has every book and Tinaka signs every one he sends! I was in awe while looking at his latest book (volume 9) titled "My Freedam 'Freakout' Fashions from Hippies to Punks" which just arrived in the mail last week. There were so many items in this book that I long to hold, touch, try on etc etc. Every time I turned a page, I would yell, "Shut up!" I think Shin was slightly confused considering he doesn't understand my sarcasm as of yet (not many people do) therefore I spent roughly 10 minutes explaining the brilliance of Fleetwood Mac (give or take my playing 8 or so of their songs.) I vaguely remember playing Neil Young for Shin as well but I don't think that had anything to do with the t-shirts I spent the afternoon drooling over. I think I just couldn't get over the fact that Shin had no idea who Neil Young is. Sacrilege. Sidenote: if you have never seen his tribute concert to George Harrison, you need to see it, and you need to see it now. Its honestly amazing.

Anyway, check out these t-shirts! Also, if you happened to be in BAV while I was looking at these t-shirts I sincerely apologize. I don't normally touch books like that. I simply couldn't get over that Rin Tinaka has all of these t-shirts. I have never truly been able to understand the concept of collecting over selling but now I see. If I had these t-shirts, I wouldn't be selling them either. I would hide them under my bed....in a safe....with 12 locks and a watch dog.

Led Zeppelin Wembley Empire Pool 1971

T.Rex. Holstar Brand

Fleetwood Mac late 70s

ZZ Top Worldwide Texas Tour 1976

David Bowie Tour 4 1974

Paul McCartney Wings Tour 1976

The Who (Peter Townsend) Star Rights Co. 1979

Blue Oyster Cult 1978

Alice Cooper Russel Brand mid 70s.

After reading and looking through all of the "My Freedam" volumes, I have come to the conclusion that Rin Tinaka is a new idol of mine. I cannot believe the amazing stuff he has collected over the years. Its out of control!

Oh a final note, check out this interview Tinaka did in Los Angeles on how he got into vintage in addition to where he finds his inspiration. It all started with a pair of Levis 501s. Brilliant. Its really good.


Until next time...

xxx, Crystal

Monday, November 8, 2010

"The Reigning Queen of Rock & Roll"

There are many things that go hand in hand in this life. For example, ice cream and summer, cookies and milk, eggs and bacon, turkey and Thanksgiving, sandcastles and the beach etc. Just like these, there are certain people and images that for me, go hand in hand with vintage. Maybe these people or things don't objectively fit under the vintage label, but they represent a part of the bigger picture (at least in my minds bigger picture). Ladies and gentlemen I give you my most loved, most adored, most treasured icon:


Now I do realize that this is more of a post dealing with my moderate obsession rather than her relationship or direct correlation to vintage (even though she does wear long head scarves) but it still counts considering she inspires me and makes me happy. I cannot tell you how many days and nights I have sorted and cleaned items, searched for rare things like a nerd on the internet for hours, ALL while listening to album after album of Fleetwood Mac or Stevie herself. Its almost on a comparable level of my eating fast food while thrift shopping. They just go together! I can't have it any other way. Finding a cute 60s shift dress= big mac. Posting a new bag online= Tell Me Lies.

A short bio? Why yes of course!

Stephanie Lynn Nicks was born on May 26, 1948 in Phoenix Arizona. Her father Jess Nicks was a struggling country singer who had Nicks performing duets with him by the time she was four years old. She received a Goya guitar for her sixteenth birthday and wrote her first song titled, "I've Loved and I've Lost, I'm Sad But Not Blue." Sheer Genius already at the tender age of sixteen. She went to college for awhile (majoring in Speech Communication, like me!) and dated her Mac partner, Lindsey Buckingham. No doubt their relationship produced some amazing songs via Fleetwood Mac. Umm, Rumors anyone? She actually met Buckingham when she was a Senior in high school. She watched him play a version of "California Dreamin" at a Christian social event and from then on was by his side. True love.

Career-wise, Nicks has outdone herself. 1977s Rumors produced four U.S. top 10 singles including "Dreams" (their only U.S. number one hit) which stayed in the number one spot for 31 weeks! She has produced seven solo albums (yes seven, including the amazing Bella Donna) and has plans to release her eighth (first one 10 years!) on March 1, 2011. I cannot wait for this.

Plain and simple, Stevie Nicks is amazing. She is dreamy. She is beauiful. She is vibrant. She is strong. She is a genuine artist to the core. She is my inspiration and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Taken by, taken by the sky...

All I ever wanted was to know that you were dreaming...

To a room with some lace and paper flowers...

I search only for something I cannot see...

I climbed a mountain and I turned around...

xxx, Crystal

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Going Americana on You

Oh what a week it's been!

Some intense personal happenings on my end last weekend (not Halloween related) has actually allowed me to welcome a painfully gorgeous Stetson Twenty-Five Open Road hat to the Merryweather closet. With the original box, of course. (Thanks, Poppy!)

And the nerd that I am, the initial research began as soon as I got it home. Starting with a visit to the Stetson website where I watched this video detailing the manufacturing process.


Some admittedly superficial internet searches led me to this blog entry written by a small family farmer in North Dakota, sharing a bit of their family history with Stetson hats.


Surprisingly, the author (Jane) talks about her Uncle Dan wearing his Stetson with a dark wool suit on the Michigan Avenue here in Chicago! Illustrating the timeless dignity equated with an urban man wearing a Stetson. I wish I saw more of that in this city. Maybe I just haven't been looking.

Chicago pedestrians beware: if I see you wearing a Stetson smartly, I will be approaching to ask to take a photo and learn about your history with this sartorial icon of Americana!

More in-depth research on the agenda this week, including some family history of my own.

Besides this great addition to the Merryweather closet, this week Crystal and I have been planning the upcoming sale, and will be burning the evening oil tomorrow to markdown a lot of our items on the Etsy site. It's been a long time since we've hit the estate sales, and we're itching - so we're making room for all of our hopeful winter finds. We get to go shopping for the closet and YOU get amazing deals on fantastic items: everybody wins!

Stay tuned!