Recreating vintage looks of Ralph Lauren

Last month I watched the HBO documentary “Very Ralph.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It was so nostalgic for me. I also want to recommend for your sewing library Ralph Lauren: Revised and expanded Anniversary Edition. I got mine from Amazon 

In the 1980’s I was in high school and loved fashion. I love learning the history of fashion designers and loved to try to recreate the looks of these iconic people. Back then, I always had a part-time job, with the sole purpose of going to our local “Piece Goods” store to buy fabric. Watching this documentary, I was reminded of all the times I would be inspired by a Ralph Lauren ad in a magazine. This is where my pattern hacking skills began. Today I seldom sew a pattern in it’s original suggested view. For these looks, I was a pattern tester for the @PatternScout “Byrdie Button Up blouse #byrdiebuttonup. I decided to make both views so two blouses. View A I hacked the look slightly by adding a double ruffle down each side of the placket.facetune_15-12-2019-20-26-12

View B, with it’s tuxedo looking pin tucks, I added a one inch ruffle to the top the the Nehru collar.facetune_15-12-2019-09-37-48

I made a tiered midi length velvet skirt out of vintage velvet I got at an estate sale I went to 3 weeks ago.velvet skirt

velvet skirt invisible zippervelvet skirt gatheringzipper seam line up


Everything else I’m wearing in each look is thrifted with one exception, My large leather concho belt. I purchased it over 12 years ago in a Ralph Lauren store in Las Vegas.

Thrifted vintage Ralph Lauren cardigan
Trifted vintage suede jacket & suede pants
Thrifted suede suit & vintage turquoise & silver concho belt
Close up Byrdie button up blouse
Thrifted fur coat
Thrifted vintage riding pants @theneutralshop

My secret weapon with my creating and blogging is in photographing each look. My husband David, my #instahusband is often my photographer but the another added bonus is he is a maker himself an avid wood worker of @prowellbuilt. David built my back drop from reclaimed wood he found for free advertised on “Let go” (literally left in a random alley here in the valley.) Yes thrift Gods! Yes! We believe!!

Reclaimed wood backdrop @prowellbuilt

Let’s talk about thrift.

As a costume designer and wardrobe stylist I often shop thrift. One because when you are dressing a character/talent of a different period of time, it’s the most cost effective way to create their costume wardrobe look. Custom builds, they aint cheap! Two as a stylist there is nothing like I good accent piece that can’t be found in regular retail or designers current collection. I like that touch of the unexspected.

Personally, I dress this way. I like a nod to the past fashion. I also like researching popular brands of the past in fashion. Kind of like the “one hit wonders” of the fashion world. I’ve mentioned before I have a personal affinity to fashion of the 1970’s. Can’t really say why other than I think for me it’s when I really began to notice fashion as a young person. I’ve been told many times I look like Farrah Fawcett, which can we stop right here to say OMG! You could not pay me I higher compliment, and I definitely do not feel worthy of it. Ok, Ok, back thrifting.

I thrift from alot of places, any city, any time and online quiet a bit. When I’m on location I always check out the local thrift and Op shops. I have found amazing things in the most random places. Like a vintage (70’s) stadium length Yak fur and leather coat (I promiss it’s amazing) in Davenport, Iowa

70’s Vintage Yak fur jacketthrifted Davenport, Iowa

I also collect some of these obscure less remembered fahion brands. One of which is Vakko leather jackets. I have a couple and what I love is their buttery soft leather, truly beautiful. Vakko’s hay day for leather jackets to me was more late 80 and 90’s but the company it’s self started in millenary in Istanbul, Turkey in 1934.

Vakko leather jackets

So I recently acquired a metallic silver leather Vakko jacket from a new online thrift and vintage shop (Instagram) called @theneutralshop_ Warlene Rene’ @warlenerene is the owner and curator of Amazing thrift!!

You must go check out her feed and get ready to shop. Hopefully I won’t regret sharing this gem cause I have to restrain myself on the daily not to click “add to cart” it’s that good.

The rest of this outfit, also all thrift. My skirt is from @savers in Salt Lake city, Utah. Snake skin boots @poshmark and all of the jewerly in from @goodwillsocal.

That’s all for now, there will be more thrift adventures I’ll be sharing here in the future. Take care and Happy thrifting!

Refashioning “The Mini skirt prosecutor.”

In January of this year, as I set out to start this blog. I knew that I wanted to talk about Fashion, fashion history, and iconic people and do it visually by refashioning iconic “looks” of these people.

In the summer of 1974, my family was living in Northern Virginia. My father a major in the Air Force was working in the Pentagon. I remember vividly the national news each night on my families television. Watergate.

In July of 2017, I began noticing an MSNBC legal contributor. She was the new resident authority on Watergate and how it resembles our current President and our government. Two things I noticed about her, besides obvious class and intelligence, first, each night she had on these amazing brooch pins. A different one each night. Second, she commented on being known back in the early 70’s as “The mini skirt prosecutor.” Well, now I needed to know more…

Jill Wine-Banks was a Watergate prosecutor. ” She was the one who interrogated Rosemary Woods, the White House secretary responsible for the notorious missing 18½ minutes of the Watergate tapes.” (Author Rita Dragonette, http://www.ritadragonette.cohttp://www.ritadragonette.comm)

In mini skirts no less.

Jill has continued to succeed and have many firsts for women.

“List of achievements: first woman General Counsel of the Army, Illinois’ first Solicitor General and first female Deputy Attorney General of the state, first woman EVP/COO of The American Bar Association, Executive at Motorola and Maytag. After an equally impressive list of not for profit/social advocate positions she has championed causes in education and social services, most recently serving on the US Department of Defense Subcommittee investigating sexual assault in the military.

Jill never stopped fighting, particularly as an outspoken critic of sexism. An early iteration of her book was as a memoir contrasting what it was like to be at the pinnacle of success and attention, yet still facing sexist attitudes and practices in both professional and personal circumstances.”(Author Rita Dragonette,

Now those pins. So each time Jill appears on television she wears a different pin. The brilliant part is each pin has a meaning. She has on her website, Instagram and twitter #jillsPins with the photo and the meaning of each one. Yes, the like button is getting hit often. Definitely check these out.

Jill’s memoir about her years of Watergate is being revised and will be out February 25,2020

Now my refashioning. This past Monday was Earth day and in the world of fashion, Fashion Revolution week (April 22nd-28th) is underway. I’m a big believer in sustainability and all of us doing our part. I make my clothes and try upcycle old garments instead of buying new.

This project I did entirely out of thrifted clothing. Basically salvaging all yardage from the discarded.

First, Jill’s trench coat. I took three pairs of men’s thrift khaki’s from GoodWill. Let me just say there are way too many pairs of men’s khaki’s out there, I’m convinced our landfills must be full of them! I decided to do a color block version (like the inspiration photo below) and use the vintage Vouge pattern 1498 to make in 1970’s period appropriate. I hacked the pattern slightly by not lining it, because it’s hot here in southern Califorina. I did do Hong Kong finished steams though, refashioning old power ties, from my dead stock wardrobe from my regular job as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer. I often style celebrity men.

The “mini skirt” pinafore, I used three pairs of used old black stretch jeans of mine. Re-dyed them black with and used the Seamwork’s No.3093 Dani pinafore pattern

The Pussy bow blouse, pattern by

was made out of a linen table clothed, from my wedding that the stains didn’t come out, but talk about good yardage! Slight hack, I slashed and spread the tie pattern piece to give it more of the 70’s style.

The boots I found thrift as well as the brief case.

Lastly, my pin. I wanted to find something to do with justice and with my fine tuned thrifting skills, I found it. A little cheeky, but I love it. Yes, I secretly want to send it to Jill.

A special thank you to Rita Dragonette and Jill Wine-Banks for allowing me to use the photos and to quote Rita’s blog post “The mini skirt prosecutor”

Vintage leopard faux fur coat,1964

So I picked up this great vintage leopard faux fur coat. Technically the print is that of a cheetah, but most spotted furs are generically all referred too as a leopard.

I loved the silhouette, and the pile of this faux fur was dense, sweet and short. It’s just so much more beautiful and ”real” looking than most faux furs we see out there today. When I saw the label on the inside, it was familiar to me. Always curious about the history of fashion brands, I decided to do a little research. The label said, ”Safari styled by Fairmoor.” I could tell by the typography that the company was for sure from the late fifties, probably the sixties. Sure enough, this coat came out in 1964. Pile fabric coats have been around for quite a while. Let’s face it; humans wearing fur goes way back. In the late ’50s, the new synthetic ”fake fur” as they were called were becoming hugely popular because the synthetic textiles were produced for about $12.00 a yard. Did you know that faux fur fabric is a knit fabric? If you look at the wrong side of the textile, you’ll see it looks just like most knits we use.

” The story goes that the late George Borg, owner of a knitting mill was producing deep pile fabrics for paint rollers. One of the colors coming off looked attractive enough for coats and, and he took the fabric to Seventh Avenue. This was in the late 40s. It caught on, and the knitters began producing the fabrics also.” ( June 17, 1964 page 59 The New York Times archives)

So my coat, like I said the faux fur was in excellent condition, but the acetate lining was thrashed! The pocket lining was four layers deep (yes

four) from previous owners adding a new lining over the last one once it developed a hole. The buttons were alright, but the gold now lacked their luster. I don’t know about you, but I find when refashioning a vintage piece I found myself asking myself ” I wonder where this coat has been, what kind of life experiences has it witnessed?”

So I knew I would replace the lining and the buttons and initially thought I’d use a similar new lining textile and color. I was at brunch with girlfriends for our friend Jen’s birthday. My friend Laura gave her a little make-up bag. A small leopard faux fur with a hot, shocking hot, pink lining. I saw it, and inspiration said, “that’s it, that’s your lining!” I love this coat; I love that it’s older than me and I even put the label back in like a passport booklet for all the adventures I’m going to take it on.