Devastated and haunted by guilt after the death of her best friend, Phoebe Swift breaks off her engagement, quits her job at Sotheby’s and starts over by opening a vintage clothing store in London in A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff.
Phoebe’s new shop soon takes off and she’s kept busy with customers and finding and purchasing new stock. This includes navigating auctions at Sotheby’s, assessing treasures her dealer in America finds, and meeting directly with owners of vintage clothes. Part of the fascination of this book is the peek behind the scenes – the work and skill and knowledge required to run such a shop from assessing the quality of fabric and workmanship, to understanding how an old dress can be fashionable again, with or without changes. Phoebe’s work brings her into contact with various people with a wide range of interests – vineyards to classic Hollywood cinema to Paris during World War II.
Light but not frothy, this charming book may be just the antidote for those “life changing” books on your list that we’re all supposed to be reading. Here, there’s a little romance, some mystery, interesting characters, history (nicely tied to the vintage clothing that Phoebe deals with) all in lovely settings in London and France. Just the ticket for something fun to read.
Of course, there’s nothing new about going to flea markets and thrift stores to find treasures to decorate your house, but the current emphasis on recycling and green lifestyle make the old hobby of shopping secondhand seem hip again. Restore Recycle Repurpose by Randy Florke is just the book to inspire you.
Arranged by area (entryways, kitchens, home office, bathroom, outdoor) Florke gives you tips on what to look for – how to determine the quality of a piece and whether it might be salvageable as well as fun and unique ways to use items in new ways. While the majority of the rooms would be considered “country” or “cottage”, they are all refreshingly open and clutter-free; it is not hard to imagine the same rustic pitcher or chair fitting in comfortably in many modern or eclectic rooms. Throughout, Florke effortlessly combines practicality, comfort, eco-friendly options all while honoring the past.
Hey, if its the kind of swill this rugged devil slugs back after a hard day at the ol’ salt mine, it must be good enough brew for a roughneck like myself. Just discovered this neat link, Vintage Ad Browser. Naturally I gravitated to an old favorite.
However, if you’d like to peer into the marketing of over the last 100 years (some of which quite politically incorrect) in a number of industries (food, clothing, automotive) give it a l00k. It will make you smile.
I really should watch that show Mad Men everyone is talking about (seasons 1 and 2 available at the library!)