Tuesday, January 18, 2011


January 21st-31st, the Etsy Vintage Market Team will be hosting an end of season sale-entitled "SOLDES", which is french for "sale." As part of the team, Jojo's is offering 10% off all outerwear and eveningwear. This is a great chance to get a discount on a spring coat or one of those higher priced formals you've been eyeing for Valentine's Day. The items will be automatically discounted on those dates and the price shown on the listing will be the sale price. You can also search for other Etsy Vintage Market team members' soldes offerings with the search term VMTEAMSOLDES.

Please stop by now and check out the lovely dresses and coats that will be going on sale on Friday! See you at the shop!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vintage Hat Thieves are most unsavory characters

As my gentle readers may recall, recently I decided to ask my customers if they would be willing to be featured wearing their Jojo's vintage in my blog. I'm delighted to report that I've had many say yes, brave souls, so I plan to share their vintage purchase stories with you here from time to time.

Today I'd like to introduce you to my sweet customer Vicky who hails from the UK. Vicky had sent me a lovely photo of herself in her Jojo's vintage hat that was taken whilst dining at her celebratory birthday dinner. Being her 30th, this was a special occasion worthy of fine vintage. The blue velvet rhinestone studded hat was one of the first in a new collection Vicky had started this past fall. She had purchased it to wear at the event with her navy blue 50s cocktail suit, both of which she is wearing in the photo below.
Here is the original listing photo and Vicky's very smart look!

Vicky continued on with her tale and shared that her lovely hat had the misfortune of being pinched at the pub during the dinner party! The hat went missing when she tried on another that was a birthday gift. I can imagine the scene she further describes, everyone frantically searching for the missing birthday hat, and her visible displeasure at losing her new vintage treasure. Somehow I can envision some sort of Benny Hill/Eddie Izzard mime with a tranny male waiter stealing the hat and trying it on in the backroom while everyone is scrambling looking for it. Realizing its absence has been noted, he is far too embarassed to return it. Could there possibly be anyone lower than a vintage hat thief? Worse yet, a vintage hat thief that prowls the pubs looking for unsuspecting vintage victims!? I think there must be a special place reserved in hell for them. As a matter of fact, I think the non-repentant thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus was a vintage hat thief. Who does such a thing?

In all seriousness, my sympathies are extended to Vicky and I will certainly be on the lookout for a replacement hat for her. If any of my gentle readers has seen a similar hat for sale, please let me know so I can direct her to a suitable substitute. In the meantime, be well, wear good vintage and watch your hats!

See you at the shop!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors aka Aging Gracefully

“Women are most fascinating between the ages of 35 and 40 after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass 40, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.” Christian Dior

Lately I have been acutely aware of the unpleasant effects that go along with the natural aging process. I often feel like the face looking back in the mirror at me can't possibly be mine- I was supposed to be forever 30, right? Now at 40, I fear becoming a Blanche Dubios perpetually consumed with the effects of the lighting on her appearance...or worse yet, a Norma Desmond with little frownies pasted all over her face.

I was watching an old AMC documentary on the old-hollywood makeup dynasty, the Westmores, and they actually showed one of the sons giving a woman a facelift with tape and string through her hair. Yikes! Makes you wonder how the stars made due with the presurgical methods they had. Now everyone in Hollywood goes under the knife. Back then, the Westmores created and knew all the stars secrets for their ageless appearance and signature looks. Its was all smoke and mirrors and it seems to have been so through the ages.

So why should I feel so badly about my own aging since women have gone through this struggle since the dawn of time (or was it just since the dawn of the modern beauty industry as people typically used to die before 40?) Maybe its a loss of control, a recognition of your own mortality- you are not indestructable. I think part of the dilemma is deciding HOW do I want to handle this?

Do I want to fight it tooth and nail? I'm not sure I could handle someone injection botulinum toxin into my wrinkles, so I guess I'm gonna have to face this stoically yet gracefully. So that means investing in stock in Olay's Regenerist cream. But what about the hair, makeup and clothing? At some point will I look odd going about town in vintage? At what point are you too old to be funky? God help me if I end up like The Bravo housewives. They have cured me of the dillusion that you can pull off looking 30 at 50. So if we skip that approach, I guess that leaves us with the "personal style" method of aging gracefully.

Yes, I said Personal Style. My mother oozes it and she is well known by sight at our church. She is the only one in her choir of middle aged to elderly that can boast having fuschia hair. She wears whatever she damn well pleases including her studded black leather boots. She dutifully brings me about 5 fashion magazines a week to help me stay on top of the trends for my business. At the same time she can identify the manufacture year of just about any piece that comes through my shop. She can also singlehandedly whip up the most fabulous 5 minute bouffant ponytail on my long haired model. "I wore it this way for years, " she'll say with the rat comb in her teeth. I hope I'm half as cool as my mom when I'm her age (she just turned 70 last month.) I'd much rather look like her than wear the boring taupe Eileen Fisher knit sets that seem to creep into your closet after 40. Somehow I dont think they would go with all my ink.

After considering my limited options, I guess I will follow in the footsteps of my mom and all the other great beauties who did their best with smoke and mirrors and slathered on the night cream.... cheers to you all, ladies. At least I'm in good company!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Random Vintage Memories

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” Cecil Beaton

1985- The old Ragstock years- me in downtown Minneapolis- vintage coat, hairscarf, belt.

I wish I had my vintage wardrobe of 1985. I was a Minneapolis street rat that used to scavenge in the barrels at the old Ragstock warehouse in downtown Minneapolis, where you could get orgasmically cool 60s scooter dresses and 50s organza party dresses for $5 a pop. Pair them with a pair of tights, your combat boots and a wig and you were set to go out into the world- too cool for school!

Sometimes I cringe when I think of what I did to some of my vintage wear. I remember buying to pairs of vintage pants- one a satin black damask paisley and the other a 60s aqua blue and lime green horoscope pattern. I cut them both up the inseam and outseam, took a side of each and sewed together two new pairs of the two-sided pant. I’d wear these with a tan fringe 60s jacket (a la Roger Daltrey) and a Mary Tyler Moore style wig. Weird- I know, but something must have inspired me- I think it was all the psychedelic images in the Beatles “Blue Jay Way” video. Speaking of which, I recently got “A Hard Day’s Write” – a book of the meanings behind all the Beatles songs- lots of “ooooh-aha” moments there that you wouldn’t expect. I digress. I had racks and racks of the coolest clothes all painstakingly collected. Where they all are now, who knows? My mother probably threw them away with the old Barbies and other things she got tired of hanging onto as I moved around in life, always promising to return and collect the last of the items in storage. Fantastic old furs, leathers, mini-skirts, velvet jackets, big collared shirts- the more outlandish the better- gone, all gone.

1991-I'm center front in the white vintage Marilyn dress-my golden birthday- age 21- my roving vintage birthday party. I had spent the day under the hot dryers at the salon for that hairdo!

Anyway, I must say that for a vintage seller my wardrobe is in a sad state these days. It’s not for lack of loving the vintage. I’ve been stuck in mom mode for awhile now and am battling my curves a bit. I constantly remind myself that the reason women looked so gosh darn fab in days of old was because they wore the proper foundation garments! I am no longer the 95 pound waif I was at 15, so the pickings that are flattering for my size are slim. My personal goal is to be able to wear a fantastic wiggle dress by the end of 2011, my saddlebags having been conquered and retired to the tannery. Also, I am in the land of baby food and spit-up that I do not wish to subject my nice clothing to, so I tend to do the day to day in yoga pants and cotton shirts. I don my cat eye glasses when working on my etsy shop so I can a) see the dagnabbit keyboard and b) have a shred of dignity in my personal style.

I am slowly getting my groove back and rebuilding my once fabulous personal collection. Still looking for the fun and funky pieces that exude the “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think” style. For every 20 items I sell, I add one little beauty back into my own rack. Now THAT’S self-control!

2010- My fortieth birthday party with my youngest.

See you at the shop!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just Think Pink!

January and February are a time for the romantic creamy whites, passionate pinks and a few shots of red hot to spice things up a bit. Valentines Day is coming up, so lets get you in the mood with some vintage imagery. Lets start with Mancini's Pink Panther playing in the background- in a truly cool universe, everyone would get a personal theme song as stealth and hip as Mancini's 60s sexy sax melody.

Nothing says sexy better a 50s-60s siren in lingerie- think of Jayne Mansfield's famous cleavage bearing photos....this one in a lacy number.....

Now think of Liz Taylor in a slip in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof....or maybe Marilyn in her skivvies....

Or a slinky satin and lace nightgown or robe a la Ava Gardner

I had alot of fun putting together this Valentine's Day collection and hope you see something that makes you feel cool and hot and pink all over! Lots more in the store and new items added daily. Get a little lovin' from Jojo's with 15% off any purchase by entering coupon code NEWYEAR15 at checkout.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Real Life in Vintage

Me, in vintage accessories and custom bolero/dress at my October 2008 wedding.

When I started my Etsy vintage clothing shop in May of last year, I did it on a whim as an exploratory career option. I was a newly laid off mother of a newborn, having limited career options with my education in theatrical costume design. I was staying home with baby and giving some hard thought about what to do next. Here I was at 40, a tattooed, vintage-wearing, old -80s-punk that was a jack of all trades and master of none. I felt like I’d done all I could without a Masters (in Minnesota anyway) and continued to wrestle with the dilemma of needing to eat vs. self-fulfillment. My love of historical clothing design and all things of bygone eras had been reduced to a hobby.

It wasn’t until I found Etsy and purchased a bunch of vintage baby planters for my newborns retro –themed baptism party that I thought, “Hey, if they can do this, why can’t I?” I delved into my new adventure with the fervor of a woman with her hair on fire. I was on a mission to find the lost treasures of yesteryears closets! Thus began my great adventure into a world that encompasses everything from researching, buying/selling, internet social networking, makeup artistry and photography. It is the best of all possible worlds, both exciting and exhausting with a baby on hip.

One thing I wasn’t anticipating when I set out on this adventure was the wonderful people I would come to meet along the way. Every time I shipped something out, I held my breath. Would they like my treasure as much as I did? Wonderful feedback began appearing from the customers. They loved their dress! They were so excited! Stories of parties and plans for wearing their vintage were shared. I was amazed that I had somehow brought some excitement to someone else’s life by selling them a dress. It was great to see that something I had found in an estate attic or buried unappreciated at a second hand store could make someone else as giddy as it made me!

Recently I received some feedback, photos and stories with one such happy customer- April from Los Angeles, CA. April is a very smart and chic woman who knows what she likes! She purchased a light blue cotton 50s pinup fit n flare gored dress with rhinestone accents on the bust. Her unexpected feedback and appreciation picture just about knocked me outta my chair:

“So, I had been eyeing this dress ever since it was listed. I practically lusted after it. It kind of seemed too good to be true. An AWESOMELY constructed, pristine, GORGEOUS dress for 79 dollars? I just had to believe there was something wrong with it. But I wanted it. Now that I have it? I think I want to marry this dress and have little dress babies that look just like it. For reals ya'll. This dress is that cool. I highly endorse this seller and I will be buying from again! Such an eye for quality.”

She just sent me some more fantastic pictures of her in the dress at a New Year’s Eve celebration, which you can see on her new blog, The Vintage Fairygodmother. April’s enthusiasm for vintage and the shop has revived my spirit after a tiring holiday. The very best part of my work is the fantastic feeling you get when you connect with someone over the shared passion of vintage. You feel like a little girl giggling in the back of the school bus with your best friend again. My customers have become my best cheerleaders and I am so honored to be part of their real vintage life!

If you have purchased an item from my store and would like to be featured on my blog, please contact me through the store: www.jojosretroandvintage.etsy.com