Visit Bunny Breath for some pretty vintage summer dresses. Bunny Breath is run by Sue Eggen of Giant Dwarf (love my Giant Dwarf Handbag). Sue has a real love of vintage fashion and I recently sat down with her for a mini interview about vintage fashion.
Use the code fixx over at Bunny Breath at checkout and save 20% until the end of July!
1. Why vintage clothing? How did you get started and why do you like to wear vintage?
Vintage clothing, in my opinion, is a way to express who you are through fashion and style, by reliving the trends of the past. It’s an opportunity to wear a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing, in which only one or a few are still left in existence. Most importantly, it’s also a way to bypass mass production, recycle fashionably, and quite possibly, save money.
The idea to start wearing vintage was permanently ingrained when my mom took me to see “Pretty In Pink,” starring the lovely Molly Ringwald, back in 1986. I was 10 years old and I wanted to be Ringwald’s character, Andie Walsh. She wore vintage, made her own clothes, and she drove a vintage car, a Volkswagen Karmen Ghia.
After dreaming about making my own prom dress, even though I was only in the 7th grade, I begged my mom to take me to our local thrift store and any garage sales going on that weekend so I could transform my wardrobe. I slowly ditched my Esprit blouses and Guess jeans for anything that looked old. I think my mom regrets taking me to see that movie! By high school, my closet was brimming over with crazy colored dresses and bell bottoms for days. At that time, I was just figuring out my style, which I didn’t really refine until I moved to Portland, Oregon in 2000. I remember buying my first vintage dress, which I still wear to this day, from an antique store, and the rest is history. I’d have to say that “Pretty In Pink” basically influenced my life and decidedly made me who I am today, not only by inspiring me to start Giant Dwarf, my handmade company, but also by shaping my personal style.
I pay close attention to fashion trends, in magazines and on blogs, and have realized after a decade of this dedication that fashion indeed repeats itself. Therefore collecting vintage clothing is like recycling not only a part of the past, but also contributing to the present and future of fashion. I usually wander from the hot trend of the moment altogether, even though I love researching and studying it, and focus on what inspires me that day. I pull bits and pieces from my collection to coordinate an outfit, which often includes contemporary pieces as well. I love the decadence of the 1940’s, the simplicity of the 1950’s, the outrageousness of the 1960’s, and the peacefulness of the 1970’s. I can appreciate the 1980’s and 1990’s, but because I grew up during that time, I can’t accept it as vintage just yet.
2. Where and how do you find most of your treasures?
I mostly find vintage clothing from thrift stores and estate sales. I feel a certain responsibility to rescue anything vintage and either keep it for myself or set it free. This is why I started a vintage shop on Etsy called Bunny Breath. Even though I find things that aren’t necessarily my size or style, I like to pick them up anyway in hopes of finding new homes for it all. I like to collect all sizes of clothing from all time periods and anything else that catches my eye. If I’m drawn to a piece, I’m going to take it home with me. I like to think about the details of each piece, and often question when was it made, who was it made by, who wore it or used it, and why was it donated? Everything donated or found tells a story and I love imagining what it could be. I feel like I’m housing little treasured orphans in need of a good home that I hope to one day give to each and everyone of them.
Currently, I have 84 dresses that will eventually go in my shop. I also have many pairs of shoes, housewares, and other articles of clothing that will be added as well. You name it, I probably have it stashed away somewhere. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in vintage, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a part of who I am and I don’t think I’ll ever give up the hunt or the hoarding.
3. How many dresses do you own and have you worn them all?
I have an archive of over 200 dresses, but only wear 128 of them. I just ordered a couple more, so that makes the count right at 130. I also have three closets full of every other kind of article of clothing imaginable, which I also wear. Should I grow out of them, in both the physical and emotional sense, I’d like to frame them or make a quilt using all of the fabric and notions that once made up what was worn so lovingly by me and those before my time. The dresses I have now are a part of who I am and reflect my individual style. They are a commitment, a dedication, and a constant reminder to stay true to what I’ve held onto and learned about fashion and my own style over the years. I think wearing vintage clothing is a timeless approach to fashion, as well as an effortless one, and I don’t think I’ll stray from it, especially since I’ve stuck with it for over 20 years now.