Our good friend Barb called a few weeks back and asked if we’d like to be her guests at the Chicagoland Vintage Clothing, Jewelry and Textile Show & Sale. Of course, we agreed immediately. In fact, we were so desperate to get out of the house that we probably would have agreed to meet for Bingo at the Knights of Columbus. Nancy was entirely up for the show, she imagined dancing down aisle after aisle of Academy Award quality ball gowns. I was not so optimistic. I was expecting something more along the lines of musty bowling shirts and milk crates full of “Uncle Eddy’s” vinyl loafers. Either way, I’d get an afternoon out with two pretty girls.
We discovered at the door that we’d have gotten a discount on admission if we’d come dressed in vintage costume. We also discovered a very well stocked bar on the lower floor which made it seem likely that some shoppers might actually end up in costume by night’s end. Although the show was a little short on ball gowns for Nancy, there was plenty to keep the rest of us interested – from racks of 1920′s staff livery and formal wear worthy of Downton Abbey, to 1940′s women’s work clothes made for “Rosie the Riveter” and 70′s haute couture straight out of Joan Collins’ closet. Even I got into the spirit. I slipped on a 1960′s Pendleton jacket in the lumberjack section and twirled a 1930′s straw boater in the Jay Gatsby booth. I was considering a 1970′s Sears and Roebuck denim jacket covered front and back with advertising and political pins from Wisconsin, when I spied something I might actually wear in public…
A young hipster in the next booth was steaming the wrinkles out of a rumpled, tweed sportcoat that looked like it had just been swiped from Cary Grant’s closet. The label read “Chipp, New Haven – New York” I’d never heard of it, but it fit me like it had been custom made for me. I HAD TO HAVE IT! I tried to act nonchalant as I asked the price, but Mr. Hipster knew I wanted it and replied, “forty-five dollars, firm.” How did he know that was exactly how much cash I had in my wallet? I did a little research, when I got home, and discovered that Chipp Clothiers was famous in the 60′s for bespoke clothing in what was known as the Ivy League style and for making all of President Kennedy’s wardrobe. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but mine is a beauty, in an exceptionally heavy and colorful gun-check tweed with a ticket pocket and real working buttons on the cuffs. However, It does smell a little like an old oriental rug. Maybe I should have it cleaned before I wear it on a damp day and it starts attracting dogs?
Not all my clothes are pretty this time of year. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my insulated overalls this “spring”. Just a few more days above forty and I may even succeed in clearing a path to the front door.
The cold has not kept me from working like a dog to get everything ready for the Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques & Garden Fair, April 11-13. Don’t think we are holding this great stuff back though. Everything we’ve cleaned, tightened up and sealed is for sale right now and ready to go into the garden. We found this amazing English cast iron cafe or pub table base late last year, but couldn’t find the right top until we stumbled upon this beautiful French marble slab. Now it’s a perfect base for lunch on the patio or in a sunny kitchen. My fabulous terracotta lions have nearly finished their spa treatment and are ready to guard the doors, all our new gates have gotten their hinges oiled and are ready to swing open.
Give us a call and stop by anytime for a sneak peek to spring.