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Came across Sara's wonderful idea to create a Kos Katalog for small business owners to share links to ad information on their small business today, so I thought I'd try to chime in with mine....unfortunately, I sliced off the tip of my right middle finger cutting carrots yesterday on a mandolin, so I can barely type...this will be short! I'm Ang, and I own Dorothea's Closet Vintage, a local boutique in Des Moines IA and a website (as well as an etsy shop called ScarletBirdVintage). I have been collecting and wearing vintage clothing for over 20 years, and selling for nearly 10.

I started selling years ago on eBay while working full time at Home Depot, as a single Mom. I eventually developed the eBay business to do well enough to leave HD and work from home. Shortly after I taught myself how to build my own website (allowing me to leave eBay) and months after I found a shop front and opened the local boutique. I curate, restore and relocate vintage apparel and accessories spanning the early 1800s to the 1980s...most of which is sourced through private buys right here in Iowa. I often work with theatres who receive donations of vintage clothing but realize that by using it it will likely be destroyed, so when consigning with me they get a boost to their bottom line in sales and help move along a vintage piece to a new life where it will be safe from wear and tear of stage.

I run the website myself, from sourcing the clothing to cleaning, mending, photographing, editing, researching, measuring to doing the shipping to working with models to doing the social networking. I have one friend who helps me with covering the shop to allow me time for the site work. I have had the pleasure of working with Vogue magazine supplying hats for multiple shoots, V Magazine, Departures magazine,  the HBO film Grey Gardens, the film Peacock and recently the television show The Playboy Club. I also have worked with both the museum at the Fashion Institute of Design and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

A shot of a client of mine in a dress from my site as she met Obama pre-election....


A gown from my site on Dita Von Teese last month.....


A 1930s dressing gown from the site on Jessica Lange in Grey Gardens....


And in Sept Vogue, 2009, hats from my site on models Karen Elson and Coco Rocha...


I am passionate about recycling these items as well as the story that each one has to tell...whether it be the personal story from an original owner about seeing her Mom wear a gown to a White House event (true story, I have gowns worn by the wife of former head of the FCC, Nicholas Johnson) or an unspoken story like that of the threadbare and worn 1930s dress with years worth of floursack patchwork repairs. I love the history that surrounds and influences fashion design (like the shoulder pads and platform shoes that came into vogue as women stepped into traditional male roles during WWII) as much as I love to work with the pieces themselves. I love knowing that something treasured for so many years will not end up in a landfill or left to rot in a basement but go on to be worn and loved again. I am lucky to get to do this for a living! My site is at (can't get the link to work!) and I'm ScarletBirdVintage on etsy.  Thanks so much for reading and I hope you'll take a look at what I've done!

Originally posted to vintage dem on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM PST.

Also republished by DKOMA and Kos Katalogue.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

    by vintage dem on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 12:40:57 PM PST

  •  Beautiful! (7+ / 0-)

    This is a great blogothon! Best Black Friday evah!

    Thank you!

  •  Wow. Those are some impressive credentials (9+ / 0-)

    there. I'm so glad you found a way to make a living out of what it obviously your passion.

    I think people underestimate the lessons to be learned from the history of fashion. It really is great social history. Earlier this year, I got so much out of reading of out the fashion history classic, "Adorned in Dreams" by Elizabeth Wilson. I didn't necessarily agree with every conclusion she made, but it was spectacularly informative.

    And vintage is also a great way to subvert the downsides of the fashion industry - the ludicrous turnover rate, the marketing designed with the intent of lowering the self-confidence of women, and so on and so on. Also, as someone with a degree in Art History, I've heard it asked many times, "Why are there so few great women artists in history?" Uh, cause they weren't freaking allowed into the field historically. Fashion was a means of artistic expression afforded to women throughout history, and it's nothing to be sneered at, even though it often is.

    Self-expression is subversion, and it's super cool that you're providing such exquisite means to do so.

    •  Thank You! (6+ / 0-)

      I'll have to look that book up. I read a great book a few years back about flappers and was surprised that I hadn't realized all the influences taking place during that "fashion" revolution. It was fascinating to learn how women who considered themselves freed from Victorian entrapments like corsets and petticoats very quickly fell victim to the burgeoning fashion and advertising leaving behing the constraints of the corset, they ended up having to starve themselves to meet the new body image standard of the waifish stick straight flapper now gracing magazine and catalog covers (as well as movie posters), without the "benefit" of severe undergarments.

      Anyway, thank you! Off to hunt down that book!

      "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

      by vintage dem on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 01:30:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went through the years (6+ / 0-)

    and still prefer the 40's and 80'5 but they are similar in many ways including the shoulder pads.  The sixties werer just about all A line and I admire your passion and talent.  I could sew a button on a shirt without ruining the shirt or puttin my eye out....(Don't ask).
    The pre 20's are just gorgeous but I could not stand the neck frills that cameos werer so popular with like Victorian era.  I saw a dress from the 70's and I have searched and searched for a dress similiar.  You have very nice things.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 01:49:28 PM PST

  •  vintage dem, thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, vintage dem

    Your are listed in the Kos Katalogue and I have linked this diary to your listing.

    The Community Quilt Project now has a website! And so do the Pootie Pads -- everypootie needs a Pootie Pad!

    by Sara R on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 02:01:21 PM PST

    •  Oh, Thank YOU!! Really! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep

      A great idea....I've been looking over all the sites by fantastic Kossacks. Great gift ideas!

      "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

      by vintage dem on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 02:24:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh VD, this is great! (4+ / 0-)

    I wish I lived near so Icould visit.  I love to get a well worn item from long ago and repurpose because it is too to raggedy to continue on in its present form.  I have several vintage coats that I have purchased at thrift stores and I wear them frequently.  What a fun way to make your living.

    And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

    by tobendaro on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 02:49:34 PM PST

    •  Thanks! I Fully Support (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, tobendaro, slksfca

      Re-purposing things too beat up to wear as is (I'm a stickler for things in good condition to be respected as is, but damaged things I love to see used again!)

      "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

      by vintage dem on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 05:02:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I saw your stuff, and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vintage dem

    there are a couple of things that I find hugely tempting.  The Edwardian tricorner hat with the plumes is just awesome!!!  The one thing I can afford and cannot make for myself is a pale teal blue hat, very plain, and I am trying hard to talk myself into buying it.  But I need a question answered about the hat sizes.  Where around the head do I measure to determine my hat size?

    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

    by Noor B on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 06:04:35 PM PST

    •  Hard Answer! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noor B

      Typically just below the hairline and even the rest of the way around. I'm pretty easy to work with though, if it doesn't fit I'll work with you. Hats can be tricky because they sit at different places on the head!

      "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

      by vintage dem on Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 08:41:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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