The Poignancy of Vintage Perfume

I have bottles and bottles of lovely perfume on my dresser.  So many, that I don’t even know what kinds I have collected over the years.   What can I say?  I love perfume!

There is nothing so evocative as the smell of a fine perfume.  It seems to touch the depths of memory and evoke strong feelings.  Over the years I have pretty much narrowed my favorite signature perfume choices to YSL’s Opium in the winter, and Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps in the summer.  I try some of my other perfumes from time to time, but I always go back to Opium and L’air du Temps as my mainstays.  I think that when other people comment: “what is that wonderful scent you are wearing?”  then you are wearing the right scent for you.

Lately though, I admit that I’ve been getting a little tired of a long winter wearing Opium.  I dug through my bottles and found a vintage bottle of Bellodgia by Caron and sprayed it on.  It has the most amazing, mysterious vintage-y scent and I immediately felt a jolt of poignancy.  I think it will be my new signature scent for spring.

Okay then!  Feeling more adventurous, I have also tried Lanvin’s Arpege and Chanel No. 5 from my vintage stockpile.  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with scent change, but these three all seem to have the same warm, poignant effect on me.  They just seem so complex and interesting with a wonderful history behind them.  And touch a depth deep within.

Here’s to a very aromatic spring!


My So-Called Pre-Owned Life

I relish living a ‘Pre-Owned’ life, as it were.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it’s another way to say ‘second-hand’ on eBay when listing a formerly-worn-by-someone-else clothing item for sale.  It used to be a free-for-all in Item Specifics when describing condition….’excellent’, ‘great’, ‘okay’, ‘poor’ and so on were some of the terms used.  Now it’s either ‘Pre-Owned’ or ‘New’.

It got me thinking about how, for the most part, I live a ‘Pre-Owned’ life.  I pretty much buy everything second-hand and it actually galls me to have to buy something new.  I finally broke down and bought a new computer and monitor recently due to the fact my old computer was 10 years old; very slow and clunky.  I have to admit that I LOVE the wide monitor and speedy computer…but I digress!

My clothes are almost all ‘Pre-Owned’.  I love the fact that I can get fantastic quality clothing for much less than new.  The vintage, designer and high-end labels are just so much better constructed and the materials used are so superior.  For instance, I love sweaters and am always looking for natural fibers of cashmere, wool, angora and mohair.  The older stuff (which is getting harder and harder to find…) is very thick, substantial and will likely last a lifetime.   If you take a look at  brand new angora or cashmere sweaters, for the most part they are ‘Whisper Thin’ – this is NOT a quality I wish to have in a sweater despite marketing hype!  The difference is remarkable.

Just today I found a really cool ‘Made in France’ yachting sweater with the name label ‘Eric Tabarly’ on it.  It’s very thick and soft navy blue wool with white stripes, and buttons with anchors at the shoulder.  I googled the name Eric Tabarly and found that he was a notable French sailor and considered the father of French yachting, so I learned something interesting too.  That’s another thing…I love the history behind ‘Pre-Owned’ garments.  I imagine sometimes about who wore it before me…and then I silently thank them for giving up the magnificent clothes I find.

I could get into the whole ‘green’ aspect of reusing/recycling clothing, I guess.  And yes, that’s important in this day and age.  But to me it’s more than that.  It’s more a philosophy; a way of life.   Honoring quality, simplicity, history…and just having some dang nice duds to wear!

Here’s to a bit more Pre-Owning in this world!


I Love My Solar Powered Clothesline!

Hanging LaundryIt’s a beautiful sunny morning in Seattle and my clothes are already washed and out hanging on the line. I’m taking advantage of the free natural solar dryer that we all have available. I, frankly, have become a bit obsessed over this whole line-drying thing!

It all started a while back when my dryer suddenly didn’t heat anymore – still worked, but no heat. This was in the dead of winter – rainy, damp, cold and wet out. I was trying to find places in the house to hang things; the shower curtain rod, backs of chairs and hanging things around the house. Things dried fairly quickly – a little stiff, but okay. I decided to invest in air-drying aids to continue on this ‘new’ line-drying adventure.

I got one of those folding clothes drying racks. They hold quite a bit of clothing and they are good to use in winter, or when it’s raining out. Another handy thing is a lingerie hanging dryer – this is a hanger with a rack of attached clips. It’s great to hang socks and underwear on. I also hung a cotton clothesline outside. This worked for awhile but the cotton line slowly started disintegrating over time…I needed a more durable clothesline.

I searched high and low for a decent clothesline but there were seemingly none to be found. Then one day I was in the auto supplies department at Target and happened to espy all kinds of rope (so that’s where they hide them!) I bought some heavy nylon rope used to tie up boats; I figured that would be durable. It works great!

I have gotten really used to my air-dried clothing. Everything is so clean…not with that filmy layer of dryer sheet residue. It’s been determined that you can save up to 20% on your energy bills just by line-drying, so that’s a big incentive too. Plus the lovely sunshiny smell of air-dried clothing is something that cannot be duplicated. It takes a bit of getting used to having clothes out and about drying…but there is something just so homey and comforting about it. Seeing clothes waving on a line is just so…cheerful!

Happy drying!

Angora, I adorya!

I really have developed a love for angora sweaters! I must admit that I mostly sell angora, as I tend to wear cashmere and mohair sweaters myself. But I have fallen in love with the tactile fluffiness of a beautiful angora sweater…I can see why there is such a following of ardent angora lovers.

I like to look for at least 70 – 80% Angora rabbit hair content in the sweaters, with furry thick plushness and long hairs. Vibrant colors are a plus – pink and blue seem to be very desirable. Cowl necks and turtlenecks are a big hit too. Dresses and skirts are always such a delightful find. I especially love the 80s vintage angora sweaters as they usually are so slouchy and full; usually with bat wing sleeves and shoulder pads.

I have to laugh when I see a ‘Dry Clean Only’ tag in an angora sweater! What angora rabbit ever went through a chemical dry cleaning process?!? I like to hand-wash angora and let it air dry. This brings out the incredible softness and really fluffs up the angora. I tend to have several angora sweaters air-drying around the house at any given time!

In this day when clothing tends to be cheaply made and of poor quality, it is such a delight to revel in clothing that has a fabulous feel and evokes such a luxurious response as angora. The uniqueness of the fiber is unmatched – I’ve never seen a synthetic imitation of angora hold a candle to the real thing. There is just no messing with Mother Nature’s original!

Keep fluffy!

Warm Thoughts on a Snowy Winter Day

We got our first snowfall yesterday here in Seattle…and it’s darn cold too BRRRR!  Despite it’s northern latitude, Seattle typically doesn’t get too cold in the winter and snowfall is usually scant.  But we’re getting an Arctic front from Canada and their weather to boot!

I’m just north of Seattle and live on top of a 500′ hill.  Driving is not safe in the best of conditions here, and downright treacherous when the weather turns fierce.  So I just don’t drive!  There are always a rash of accidents when people try to maneuver the icy hills and ravines.

One day in the house and I’m feeling like I have a twinge of cabin fever!  Thank God for the Internet, books and electricity (I am so glad I have power).

I am digging out my Norwegian sweaters and cashmere turtlenecks – all the stuff I put away in spring,  the memories of their warmth long forgotten.  When I got them out I was grateful for their solid woolen construction.  Those Scandinavians knew what they were doing when they knit their toasty sweaters!

I tried out a new roasted potato recipe tonight too.  It was nice to heat up the oven to 475 and get a bit of extra warmth.  Comfort food tastes so good.

The extreme cold is expected to last the whole week.  It throws a wrench in most every one’s routine – and a lot of inconvenience and hassles ensue.  But sometimes a turn in situations is good for the soul and pause for reflection.  Then when things get back to ‘normal’, you appreciate it so much!

Keep warm!


Sweater Girl

I love sweaters! Just call me your sweater girl. 😉

There is just something about sweaters that stands the test of time and popularity – sweaters are always in style.  Fall is here and I look forward to wearing all my sweaters – I have a vast collection!

Around the world, cultures are noted for their individualistic sweaters.  Intricate Norwegian designs, complex Irish knits and Icelandic wools to name a few.  There is international appeal to be sure.   Fluffy angora, fuzzy mohair, plush cashmere and soft alpaca sweaters have devoted followers too.

I personally wear cashmere the most as it is lightweight, warm and non-irritating to my skin.  I do love to wear angora as it is so soft and the fluffy texture is amazing!  I save my Norwegian/Icelandic/Irish wool sweaters for the coldest of weather…when I don’t mind layering and looking bulky to stay warm.

Fall is here, winter is soon to follow…time to get out those gorgeous knits you lovely sweater girls and guys!