Lucite Box on LuLu’s Vintage Blog

March 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Holly at Lucite Box is the first vintage clothing dealer that I ever “met” online.  We’ve been friends (I can easily use that word without the quotation marks, even though we have never been face to face) for almost 10 years.  I am constantly inspired by her.  As you can tell from this interview with Lulu’s Vintage Blog, she rocks, just like Paul Weller.

Thank you Denisebrain!

March 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


I’ve been  handed the “Beautiful Blogger Award” tiara by Denisebrain, who is one of my all time favorite vintage clothing sellers. If you’re not already familiar with her, then please check out her site. She has a great sense of style, and she’s one a hell of a model.  I am honored that she thought of me.

I’m going to pass on this award to Hollis at Past Perfect Vintage.   I have a been a fan for years – her stock is amazing, and she is one of the most knowledgeable people out there.   I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with her over the summer when she was visiting Maine, and she is once of the coolest people I have ever met.

I’m going to use the questions that were posed to Maggie, because I thought they were great.

Award Rules:

1. Thank and link the person who gave you the award
2. Pass this award on to bloggers you recently discovered and think deserve this award
3. Contact said blogs and let them know they’ve won
4. State seven facts about yourself.

1. Why do you call your business northstarvintage?

When I first started selling on eBay in 1998 (!!!) I wanted to call myself galaxievintage, in honor of the car that my husband was driving when we first were dating.  But the name was taken.  I still wanted something to do with outer space and the name hit me one day when I was looking at some Salem North Star china.


2. Creating your brand – how did you decide upon the  look of your photos?

As you can see from my previous post about my Ceil Chapman finds, I’ve had a serious learning curve!  My very first photos were taken using a film camera.  We spread out the clothing on a sheet on a dining room table.  Probably because he felt sorry for me, my dad bought me a dress form, which I used until it fell to pieces.  I had interludes with several mannequins and lighting setups.  Like relationships some were good, some were bad, but I learned something from all of them.

Finally two years ago I bought professional lighting, backdrops, and a lightweight headless dress form.  For the most part I’ve been thrilled with the results.  I am a minimalist when it comes to design, and this setup suits my needs perfectly.

3. Criteria for vintage selections

I’ll buy almost anything that I know I can resell, but I am a sucker for novelty prints, pre-50’s day wear, pre-60’s men’s work and sportswear, 40’s women’s pants or beach pajamas, vintage gabardine (especially women’s suits and men’s jackets), vintage L.L. Bean (or any Maine made) clothing, and anything vintage related to motorcycles.

4. Developing your online business that still has a ‘personal’ touch.

I try to remember my buyers so when they return, I thank them for their repeat business.  When they have become good long term customers, try I work out some sort of discount to show my appreciation.  And I always remember who buys the most spectacular items!

5. How do you keep yourself moving forward?

It’s easy – I LOVE my job!  How could I not want to go out and buy beautiful  vintage?  I’m also a geek for research and will spend hours trying to figure out the provenance of a label.  The tough part is all the mundane work:  photoshopping;  cleaning and steaming and mending;   packing and shipping;  and worse of all, the administrative stuff.

6. where do you find your items?

Everywhere.  When you start looking and connecting with people, you find that’s it’s all around you.

7. What is one thing about you that none of your customers and fans would ever guess about you?

Though I own a lot of vintage, the only piece I wear with any consistency is my Brooks Cafe Racer Jacket.

Vintage Shoes and Boots – Now listed!

March 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been listing some great shoes on Etsy and on eBay.  Please click on the image to go to the listing.  Thank you, and enjoy!

Vintage 40's Black Satin Platform Peeptoe Shoes

Vintage 40's Black Satin Platform Peeptoe Shoes

Vintage 60's Peeptoe Mary Janees

Vintage 60's Peeptoe Mary Janees

Vintage 60's Mod Pink Purple Mary Janes

Vintage 60's Mod Pink Purple Mary Janes

Vintage 70's Ferragamo Snakeskin Sandals

Vintage 70's Ferragamo Snakeskin Sandals

Vintage 90's Lace Up Grunge Boots

Vintage 90's Lace Up Grunge Boots

Vintage 80's Cream Leather Lace-Up Boots

Vintage 80's Cream Leather Lace-Up Boots

Vintage 80's Black/White Cowboy Boots

Vintage 80's Black/White Cowboy Boots

Vintage 70's Wedge Heel Mary Janes

Vintage 70's Wedge Heel Mary Janes

To all the Ceils I’ve loved before

March 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I recently listed a magnificent 1950’s black silk Ceil Chapman dress (click on the picture to go the auction) and have been thinking about all the Ceil Chapman pieces that I’ve been lucky enough to find.


Ceil Chapman, as this this October 26, 1956 article in The Pittsburgh Press, puts so well, “[H]as been putting a magic touch into dresses for a number of years. She actually builds in flattery…Keynote to all her designs is femininity. The aim is to make a woman beautiful, even if nature has failed. There is no deviation from this intent, regardless of what the latest fashion trend may be.” (my emphasis added, because that phrase just kills me).

Granted, the flattering, sexy look of her dresses, is part of what makes her pieces so desirable, but Chapman was supposed to have been one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite designers, and that  association has some serious cache. Monroe did wear at least one of her designs, which sold at auction in 1999 for $23,500. Yikes!

And loads of famous or famous-ish people wore her designs. In scanning the Google Reader for the 1950′s her name comes up all the time in the list of who was wearing what in the society pages.

I never thought I’d find a Ceil Chapman here in Maine. During the 1950’s, there was not a lot of money in the state, except for along the coast and in small exclusive lake resorts, so designer evening wear is rare.  Still, I have been lucky enough to have found five Ceil Chapman dresses.

The first two were together, and from the 1940’s.  One was a black crepe gown with a diagonal green inset across the bust and down the  length of the skirt. Sadly I lost that picture in the Great Computer Crash of 2007. I did find a picture of the other dress, which is a caramel silk chiffon, covered with sequins.


In 2007 I found what I thought was to be my favorite Ceil Chapman dress ever, with lots of her iconic drape, in black jersey, with a panel over the back of the skirt.


Earlier this year I found my fourth Ceil Chapman, and my saddest Ceil Chapman.  Not only had it been shortened, but someone had ironed the bejesus out of it.


Still, the strength of her design came through and the dress is making someone very happy.

I love selling things that make people happy.

Melba Toast Packin

March 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Wooderson. No wonder I’m obsessed with the 70’s.

Mud season

March 13th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Spring in Maine is not cherry blossoms, not Easter eggs hidden in the grass, and not a time to put green seedlings in the ground. It is mud season. Brown and gray piles of melting snow, sand on the roads (left over from the snowstorms), and windy rainstorms. Cold, damp, and starkly lovely.

There is an odd beauty to the brown/gray combination, as you can see in this ethereally sheer 1970’s dress by P.J. Walsh.

Now available at the web store. Click on the link to see the item.

P.J. Walsh 70's Dress

P.J. Walsh 70's Dress

Best Game Show Ever.

March 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I was reminded of the awesomeness of Match Game by last week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where the contestants played “Snatch Game.” (That show sends me on the most interesting paths!).

Then Stephen Metcalf went on a tangential rave about the show in this week’s Slate Culture Gabfest, specifically mentioning Gene Rayburn’s slender microphone, which triggered all sorts of nostalgia.

I used to watch Match Game all the time as a child. It was a little racy, and I didn’t always get it, but that was part of the appeal. It seemed very grown up, and I found Charles Nelson Reilly to be very, very funny.

The title says it all:

Here, the implied word is too racy for everyone on the panel, but Marcia Wallace, aka Edna Krabappel.

Soul Train Fashion

March 7th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

While trying to find the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I came across an old episode of Soul Train. I am completely inspired by the clothing, the music, and the moves. Check out the 40’s retro outfit (including massive platform sandals) on the woman at :47.

Lots of aerobics inspired outfits and tuxedos in this clip from 1982

And here, I can’t even pick a favorite – it starts with the most amazing platform shoes EVER (on a man) and just keeps going.

Northstar Vintage Webstore: Vintage 90’s Maxmara Floral Blazer

March 1st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Now THIS is a vintage 90’s look that I LOVE –


Vintage 90's MaxMara blazer - Click here to see the sale.

I am a sucker for this kind of floral rayon print.  I rocked a mini dress in a similar print, always with black tights, black Docs, and an oversize black cardigan.  Somewhere I have a picture of me in that outfit, learning against a 1966 Galaxie 500, taken by my now-husband.  I had no idea how young I was.

This blazer is by MaxMara, a clothing line started in 1951 by Achille Maramotti.  It is a family owned and run business, and they are still successful not so much because it’s a family of savvy business people who hire some of the world’s best designers, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Dolce & Gabbana and Narciso Rodriguez, to design for them.

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