I am an avid vintage clothing lover, and spend many hours haunting thrift stores in pursuit of those certain elusive sartorial treasures. I sell vintage clothing – the pieces I can bear to part with, that is. I collect vintage clothing – the pieces that I cannot wear but love to just have around to look at. And I wear vintage clothing – which can be especially hard to find because I am tall and statuesque (why did women in bygone eras all seem to be petite and stick thin?)
When I do happen to come across a vintage piece that I can actually wear, I am beyond thrilled. I am not one to dress in head-to-toe vintage, preferring to mix the modern with one vintage statement piece and maybe a vintage accessory or two. I like bold colors too. A lot of vintage tends towards the beige and gray, which I find a bit too drab for me.
Imagine my surprise, several years ago, when one sale day at a local thrift store I found a truly magnificent colorful wool coat on the racks. I checked the tag to see if it was the 99 cent color sale tag of the day, and sure enough it was. Upon further inspection I saw that it was a vintage 70s KENZO-PARIS, Made in France label – SWOON! SCORE!
The coat is, quite simply, amazing. It is mid-calf length, with side slits to the hip, V-neck collar, and straight-lined. In brilliant red wool, with green, fuchsia, and gold stripes in a large herringbone pattern; it has a vaguely ethnic, tribal feel to it. Lined in heavy red satin, it feels like pure luxury. Kenzo designed some incredible stuff in the ‘70s, one of my favorite fashion decades.
I was almost a bit scared to wear the coat for the first time. You see, I live in Seattle where people tend to dress in gray and black coats during winter. No one really stands out, seemingly blending in with the interminable gray days. But eventually I did get bold enough to wear it, figuring it was the Christmas season and I could get away with a little more festivity. And the resultant attention was almost more than I could handle.
“Nice coat!” shouted my neighbor; cars driving by honked and waved; perfect strangers came up to me and paid me compliments. A guy at the grocery store told me I looked like Joni Mitchell in my coat (it does have a folksy vibe). Lots of smiles, nods, winks, and thumbs-up from various passersby. The coat truly seems to have a magical effect, not only for me, but for whoever comes in contact with it.
Naturally, since it is a very warm coat, I wear it only in winter. And even then I wear it sparingly, mostly reserved for the holiday season or special occasion. For it is a serendipitous coat, a special coat. Not really meant for the mundane workaday world. And to be honest, I can’t take that much attention all the time, preferring a bit more subtlety. But when winter roars in and the gray clouds loom, and I do don the magnificent Kenzo coat, well, let the games begin!
I haven’t been on your site lately but I just took a peek and saw you with your vintage, colorful Kenzo coat.
How pretty and how fun! Love it! Looks great on you.
It’s so hard to find such goodies in the thrift stores anymore. Just depends where you go. It’s usually hit or miss!!
Thank you so much! I really love this coat a lot and will wear it for the Christmas season. It is one of those designs that stand the test of time – Kenzo was a genius.
That’s the fun about thrift stores – you never know what you’ll find!
I have a bunch of vintage jewelry that I no longer have room for and I would love to gift to you.
They are mostly from the 60’s-70’s. If you want them I will send them to you. Of course I will pay shipping costs. Let me know by email if you are interested.
I wish you All Good Things,