Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Attic, Las Vegas

I wasn’t going to visit Vegas without a little jaunt to the local vintage stores, it being rockabilly country and all. Eager as always for a rummage, I did a google search and came across a store called “The Attic” in the Las Vegas Arts District (yes, there is such a thing), billed as the world’s largest vintage store. Most appropriate!

So I set out to visit “The Attic”, and was greeted by the most charming vintage caricatures.

And inside, a treasure trove – all carefully labelled and looked after, but arranged in pleasantly higgledy-piggledy fashion. Mid-century frocks, 30s boudoir slippers, extravagant coats, a profusion of hats, vintage showgirl costumes and the like all shared racks – all magnificent and over-the-top.

One of the highlights of the visit – apart from the veritable stash of vintage goodies I managed to procure – was the menagerie of animals inhabiting the place. I was surprised to find an exotic bird chilling out in the corner of the store, and positively thrilled to find an adorable cat called “Miss Kitty” swanning about.

Vintage folk seem to have a particular propensity for loving cats (see Vintage, Vixen), so it seemed an excellent choice of animal for a vintage store. I loved how Miss Kitty cosied up to the lacy loungewear:

And settled down in a pile of vintage gloves:

Seriously, I love cats.

But “The Attic” wasn’t great solely for its menagerie of animals (although that helps) – the store offers on-the-spot alterations, and has its own line of reproduction dresses, plus makes them to-order. The staff are lovely, passionate, and have an incredible inventory of knowledge about their vintage pieces, what they are and where they came from.

Unfortunately disaster befell “The Attic” quite recently. A nearby gas leak meant that their large warehouse that earned them the tag line of “biggest vintage store in the world” had to close, and they moved across the road into smaller quarters – the ones that I visited – which are wonderful, but simply not the same. It being too expensive to keep up the business in the wake of the disaster, “The Attic” is regrettably closing soon, after 23 years in business. Alex, the friendly gentleman who helped me and owns “The Attic”, is understandably quite devastated.

Nevertheless, I believe there are plans for an online store and a grand reopening at some point in the future, so if you’re visiting Las Vegas, don’t despair. I also understand there will be an extravagant half price sale before “The Attic” closes in a couple of months or so.

In any case, if you visit Vegas and need a vintage fix, the Arts District is your place. You may have to avoid a mugging to get to the antique malls (the area is a little seedy to say the least – try and count the bail bond offices), but they’re packed with the most marvellous of vintage treasures, and are a welcome reprieve from the bustle and flashing lights of The Strip.

Photos of my treasures to come!

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Snow White goes to The Theatre

Bonjour mes amis!

Today I ravaged a treasure-filled vintage store in the Las Vegas Arts District – but more on that later. I’m just dropping by today to show you this little snap of the outfit I wore to see Phantom of the Opera this evening (just casually).

Americans don’t seem to be too fond of frocking up for the theatre, but I persevered nonetheless, and ended up sashaying into the theatre wearing this blue number I snapped up at Anthropologie on a shopping expedition yesterday – you may notice I already own this frock in red, but shh. It was most appropriate for Phantom, paired with a little silver 1940s-style necklace that you sadly miss in this snapshot, a poofy petticoat and seam stockings.

The glam ensemble worked a treat on the gentlemen too, I soon found out, as I had the pleasure of sharing the elevator with a particularly seedy man who told me I looked like Snow White, winked, and suggested I might also make a nice Sleeping Beauty. Ah, the Vegas pick-up lines; they kill me.

I’ll be seeing you soon with more news from the strange, technicolour city that is Vegas.

Dress: Anthropologie
Cape: SoWa markets, Boston
Seam stockings: What Katie Did
Shoes: Clarks
Hair flower: Sportsgirl

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Filed under Outfit Posts, Travel

Las Vegas: Curiouser and Curiouser

Hellooo from Las Vegas, vintage friends! Vegas is a curious, curious place. It’s so curious that I have hardly enough outlandish words with which to adequately describe it, so rather than narrate my adventures, these photos in pretty frocks will have to suffice:

Paris, Las Vegas

Vegas seems to be really into pretending it’s not Vegas.


Venice, Las Vegas

My hotel happens to feature an artificial canal, a painted sky ceiling à la Harry Potter, Venetian souvenir stores and gondola rides. It’s quite weird, but also fun in a we’re-totally-in-Disneyland kind of way.

Ancient Rome, Las Vegas


The hotel across the road periodically catches fire. Just casually. For some reason they installed an artificial volcano.

The shopping is also pretty excellent. This Ralph Lauren jacket and I can never be, but we spent a beautiful ten minutes together.

I also seem to have developed a penchant for Western-wear.

We already know I have a penchant for Bettie Page. Sigh sigh.

Each hotel, and each outfit more extravagant than the last.

This beautiful red cape has been my constant companion. Picked up for a song in Sydney, it’s been flitting about with me here in Vegas and soliciting cries of “yo, Little Red Riding Hood!” everywhere I go.

As a final note, Happy Valentine’s Day and all that! I wouldn’t usually mention it, except that I happened to witness about a dozen weddings (some in gondolas), and a magnificent proposal in my hotel today. Apparently here it’s Kind Of A Big Deal.

I’ll be back with reports from the world’s largest vintage store and a hot rod exhibition – until then, à bientôt !

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Seam Magazine

Thank you for your lovely and interesting responses to my post on vintage and feminism – I’m still responding to some of you. Even though I do have a specific blog for all my feminist musings (or as of late, lack thereof), I’d like to make posts like these more of a regular feature on Ravishing, seeing as we’re all so inspired. At the very least, I daresay I’ll put up something about vintage and body image at some point: a topic I decided to save for a separate post as I just have SO MANY FEELINGS about it all.

As I’m still living off my travel wardrobe, I don’t really have any fabulous outfits to showcase from my recent wanderings. Instead, I’ll show you an outfit I wore awhile back to the launch of Seam Magazine in Brisbane.

I should have written about Seam Magazine before now, because it’s all kinds of adorable. The crafty, vintage-inspired zine, written by the lovely Linsey from Brisbane, is an absolute visual feast – the photo shoots, featuring dreamy fashions by Alice Nightingale, are positively to die for. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a pot of Earl Gray tea and some cookies. Seriously, vintage types – get on that (check it out here or on etsy).

And voila, the outfit:


50s dress: Love Vintage Fair 2011
60s pillbox hat: Paddington, Brisbane
Gloves: Paddington, Brisbane
Belt: Brisbane Antique Centre
50s necklace: Love Vintage Fair 2011
Shoes: Bloch

I leave for Las Vegas very soon, so leave me your travel tips if you have any.

In any case, à bientôt !

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Filed under Outfit Posts, Travel

Vintage and Feminism

I’ve been wanting to put up a post about vintage and feminism for awhile now, so with vintage blogs all abuzz with the topic in right now, I thought it was time I published my thoughts on the subject.

Feminism is one of my great loves (some of you may know that I actually have a somewhat neglected feminist blog called Woolf Woolf: A Blog of One’s Own that I set up towards the end of 2011), so naturally, I was thrilled to see the topic come up in the vintage blogosphere. Gemma of Retro Chick wrote a post on the subject, as did Lena of Style High Club. Both posts are very interesting, and it’s cool to see thoughts pouring in on the subject from all their readers.

(Actually since Lori of Rarely Wears Lipstick added her thoughts, I fear there’s not a lot left to say, but allons-y nonetheless!)

This is what a feminist looks like.

Feminism is an issue that I think vintage wearers must confront from time to time, seeing as our clothes quite obviously reference more repressive or tumultuous times for women. Looking like a museum piece has the side effect of people assuming you have some sort of comment on the era you “come from”, and so it is that we are brought into conversations of this nature.

People often like to draw my attention to the irony of being a feminist dressed like a 1950s housewife. More frequently, I’m misread as conservative, as people mistake my aesthetic nostalgia for a moral nostalgia. Some people have trouble seeing vintage clothes without imagining the vintage world.

The truth is that most of us wear the clothes, but not the attitudes. In fact, although superficially “conservative”, the vintage community seems to have produced an unusually high number of kickass feminists, radicals and unorthodox thinkers.

Independent dressing attracts independent men and women. Vintage-wearers aren’t exactly fashionable in their knee-length skirts and hats, but I think that coming to terms with being unfashionable takes a great deal of strength. Choosing to forego fashion trends may seem trivial, but I see it as a form of resistance.

This phenomenon is paraphrased rather nicely by Gemma of Retrochick:

In my experience it’s those women and girls with the confidence to break away from … cultural norms that are more likely to demonstrate  an independent spirit, and the intelligence to deconstruct what they see presented to them as “ideal”.

I don’t mean to suggest that dressing in vintage frocks is in itself an inherently feminist act, because of course it is the strength of one’s conviction rather than one’s wardrobe that makes a feminist; but I do want to suggest that feminism is particularly relevant to the vintage subculture, and that having the confidence to develop one’s own style in opposition to what is prescribed by the fashion industry and/or the media does indicate some sort of radical thought.

I feel like one radical act breeds another, so once one comes to reject mainstream standards of beauty, one is probably a lot more likely to reject other things too, like patriarchy, for instance – cue feminism.

Of course this isn’t to privilege vintage styles over any other styles. The basic feminist doctrine of choice dictates that one should act on one’s own whims, so a feminist can just as easily be found in a mini-skirt or denim shorts as in a 1940s tea frock or tweed breeches.

Potential Feminist

Also a Potential Feminist

The problem surrounding modern fashions (described by Gemma and Lena as “hypersexualised”) is perhaps the sense of coercion, by which I mean that a lot of women may feel like they don’t have free license to experiment, or deviate from the trends. This isn’t really a problem created by the particular fashions, but more by mainstream media/etc, although I suppose because the styles themselves channel a level of sensuality that may be unnatural or uncomfortable to some girls, the problem is sort of exacerbated.

Vintage has its problems too – the male gaze has always been around, so the clothes don’t really sidestep any accusations of objectification and such. The difference, as I see it, is probably that a higher proportion of those who dress in vintage have made a very conscious choice to do so, and there’s also therefore a higher chance they’re well-equipped to deal with misogyny.

Although wearing vintage is not inherently feminist, I think it can easily, and often does, produce feminists – and I love that. Nevertheless, there are a lot of ways to rebel, and wearing vintage is just one of them. That independent spirit that makes a feminist can manifest itself in endlessly unique and equally valid ways.

Having victory rolls is hardly a prerequisite for feminism, but they can top off the fabulous vintage look of your local kickass feminist who’s putting up her middle finger to patriarchy.

Images via here and here.

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Filed under Feminism, Vintage 101