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Vests and jackets are a fun way to incorporate vintage in your wardrobe. This suede vest from the late 1970s is constructed with black crochet. P.S. Truth in advertising: I fell off the Slow Clothes bandwagon last week and bought 5 NEW turtlenecks to wear under things.

I’m not against books with dark themes. But I couldn’t get out of bed if I didn’t balance a book like The Bridge on the Drina with something lighter. A book that engulfs you in a few centuries of human suffering calls for some serious brain candy. I found the perfect antidote in Dreaming of Chanel: Vintage Dresses, Timeless Stories, by Charlotte Smith. (It’s the sequel to Dreaming of Dior.)

Smith’s books are about a vast collection of vintage clothes inherited in 2004 from her godmother, Doris Darnell. Darnell’s lifetime passion for dress up clothes was surpassed only by her appreciation for the women behind the dresses. By the time she died, her hobby had transformed her into an all-out fashion historian.

Although the collection itself is priceless, Darnell valued the stories behind the garments as much as the garments themselves. So much so that she didn’t bother to insure the collection. In a letter to the author, Darnell explains: “If our house burned down and we lost everything, all the stories, all the glimpses of history, would have no value without the clothing. Money could not replace what I had lost, so why insure?”  She sounds like my kind of girl. Smith, an art historian by education, has carefully preserved the stories in a beautifully illustrated picture book for grown up girls.

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