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houndstooth check coat copy
Once upon a time, I resolved an internal debate about whether or not it’s “okay” for a 50-something girl (okay, woman) to photograph her own vintage wardrobe. And then along came the 2013 Word of the Year: selfie.

Oh, boy. Here we go again. Shall I start making photos like my earliest ones, where I cropped off my head? Would that be any less self-absorbed? Trust me, I never wanted this space to be all about me, me, me. Call it a generational divide, but that would be drudgery to write or read. So I deliberately add related content that interests me—like history, culture, books, then-and-now comparisons and something else I desperately miss: good manners. I know you like these things just as much as vintage fashion because you tell me so. Let’s face it: there’s a lot more to life than getting dressed.

But if I never posted another vintage fashion photo of myself, my inner editor tells me the blog wouldn’t be any more or less self-absorbed than it was before. It would only be off-topic from what friends and readers are drawn to—which is an occasional peek at some of the coolest vintage clothes ever made.

Vintage 1960s Chuck Howard
Take this swing coat from the late 1960s, for instance. Have you ever seen anything quite like it? It has a metal zipper that’s a little messed up, but other than that, it’s in perfect condition.

Vintage Chuck Howard

See its beautiful red-orange knit lining? I’m sad to report that its matching skirt and slacks do not fit over my hips. The ensemble was designed by Chuck Howard, who began his career as a sketcher for Richard Cole. After working with Bill Blass and Anne Klein, he designed under his own label and also for Vogue patterns until around 1974, when he returned to work on Anne Klein’s studio line. (Incidentally, two- and three-piece suits were all the rage in the 1960s. I know because I had a few.)

The Sisterhood Collection
This swing coat came from the same vintage collection that inspired us (Jody Deford and me) to start the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Sweater project. It’s a yearlong journey of one fabulous vintage sweater to raise money in support of the Pink Ribbon Connection. See? Selfies can be about more than your self!

If you’re a friend or reader, you can follow the journey at the hashtag #SisterhoodoftheTravelingPinkSweater at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or on my blog or Jody’s blog. You can also make a donation that will fund supportive services to women in central Indiana who are healing from breast cancer. Please use this link to help us track how much money our sweater-wearing, vintage-loving sisters raise from now until next October. We can’t wait to see how the current recipient, Megan Gianinni, will style this sweater in one of 2014’s first Selfies For a Cause!

Back to the selfie
Actor/writer/director James Franco puts a positive spin on the selfie. He considers them a “way to communicate and look someone right in the eye and say, ‘Hello, this is me.’” My take: fine, as long as they don’t become the dominant way of communicating.

I’ve had a chipped tooth, a bruised tailbone and an aggressive sinus infection in the past three weeks. If there was any doubt about my humility before those events, believe me, I’m definitely feeling it now. For 2014, I guess I’ll reclaim my occasional selfie rights to share a few vintage fashions with you. What’s your take on the selfie? When is it okay? When is it sheer vanity?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.