Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How To Really Look Special At Your Next Special Occasion...

In my humble opinion, modern day special occasion dresses look anything but.  I recently saw a group of young women walking down the street dressed up for a "special occasion". They looked like they might have been heading to a friends wedding or something. They had on cheap "special occasion" dresses that they had undoubtably picked up at the mall or online. The fabrics were shiny, the colors on trend, the hemlines were high and the necklines were low. There was nothing elegant, interesting or stylish about them. Rather than making the wearer look "special", they simply made the wearer look cheap and...what's the term?.... BASIC?  Yeah, they looked basic. What's worse than just looking bad is these tawdry little dresses really are essentially bad. Bad for the environment, bad for small businesses, bad for people! These soul-less, thoughtless garments are literally churned out by the millions in overseas factories where workers are treated and paid abhorrently. If you really want to know the reality about where these garments come from I implore you to watch the documentary The True Cost . It might change your life and hopefully it will at least curb your fast fashion addiction.
So the next time you need something "special" to wear to an occasion, consider wearing vintage. I can guarantee you'll look ten times fresher, smarter, and more stylish than your friend in her Forever 21 strapless tube dress. An added bonus will be the the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart knowing you are doing something good for the planet and the community around you--all the while looking GORGEOUS! 

Early 1960's Hydrangea Haze, waist 25".
1950's rhinestone studded hydrangea blue cocktail hat. 

Fabulous late 1950's Edith Flagg rose print cotton pique party dress, waist 27".

Elegant 1950's "New Look" black eyelash taffeta cocktail dress by Henry Rosenfeld. Waist 26".

Go for the gold in this gorgeous 1970's silk chiffon lame pine cone?!print Stavropolous evening gown. Waist 28".

1960's cotton and linen blend pink champagne cocktail dress with rhinestones and crystals! Waist 29".

Adorable 1960's Mod stripes and polka dot party dress, small.

Elegant 1961 Sophie Gimbel silk velvet burnout floral cocktail dress, sold.

1960's silk cocktail dress by Jerry Silverman, waist 26".

Beautiful 1950's cotton eyelet lace wedding dress, waist 31".

Fabulous 1960's lattice cocktail dress in Tiffany Blue, waist 30".

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New Arrivals

1920's silk chiffon afternoon tea dress with matching jacket, approximately a size 6. Available in the boutique and online in our Etsy shop. 

1930's straw hat with roses and chartreuse ribbon, perfect paired with the 1920's dress above. 
Early 1960's lemonade lace party dress, waist 24". Available in our boutique and in our Etsy shop. 

1950's sea foam pumps, size 7. 
Wonderfully whimsical calico 1970's sundress by Oscar de la Renta. Available in the boutique and in our Etsy shop. 

Iconic 1960's black wool crepe sculptural cocktail dress by legendary designer Norman Norell. Available in the boutique and in our Etsy shop. 

Fabulous 1960's Nina Ricci Boutique wool dress suit, available in the boutique and in our Etsy shop. 

1920's crinkle silk chiffon floral dress, available in the boutique. 

Ultra chic 1950's grey fitted wiggle dress, available in our boutique and in our Etsy shop. Waist 28".

1950's tulle circle skirt, sold. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bridal Update Of Paramount Importance

Transitions are not always easy. When I merged The English Department and Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon in January, it was in an effort to simplify and streamline my life. Driving downtown everyday to tend to The English Dept. seemed foolish when I already had a bigger, brighter bridal salon above Xtabay.  So it only made sense to close the downtown location and simply move it upstairs. It seemed like a no-brainer, or so I thought. 

But then things started to get murky. The vintage wedding dresses looked out of place along side the modern wedding dresses. Everything had to be rearranged. Employees had to merge.  People balked at having to make an appointment. It all just turned into a big mess. So in an effort to please everyone (yes, I am a card carrying People Pleaser) I moved the vintage wedding dresses downstairs. I made them available to try on without an appointment. Maybe people would like this!? Maybe this would solve the problem?! But after watching many a brides face fall when she saw the small rack of tightly packed vintage wedding dresses I realized it wasn't working. Trying on wedding dresses takes time and a lot of space. The dressing room area at Xtabay is great for trying on a cocktail dress but a wedding gown from the 1930's with a cathedral length train? No.

So, in an effort to provide every bride with the love and service she deserves we have moved the vintage wedding gowns upstairs to what was formerly Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon and is now officially The English Dept. That means an appointment has to be made.  I know a lot of you out there are intimidated by the idea of a private appointment but let me reassure you, they are a TON of fun and not scary at all.  Plus you get to drink champagne with your friends and kick back in the heavenly atmosphere. You really owe it to yourself to indulge in such bridal bliss. 

Still not too keen on making an appointment? Here's the good news! Starting this Saturday, The English Dept. will be open for browsing without an appointment from 3pm-6pm. Think of it as a weekly happy hour for looking at wedding dresses! Let me repeat, every Saturday (and only Saturday) The English Department will be open from 3-6pm for browsing without an appointment.

Here is the thing to keep in mind with the vintage wedding dresses. They tend to be very small. Honestly, in the last five years I think I've only found a handful of vintage wedding dresses that were larger than a size 10. I've said it before and I'll say it again, people were just smaller back then.  Smaller feet, smaller heads and definitely smaller waistlines. So if you come to the shop looking for an authentic 1950's wedding dress and none of them are in your size, try not to be disappointed. They rarely fit ANYBODY.  Even Miss Cross Fit USA who never ate a carb in her entire life would have a tough time squeezing into one of these gowns! I'm serious.  That's one of the reasons I started carrying new wedding dresses, they can be ordered in any size! 

So if you come by the Xtabay looking for the vintage wedding gowns, they have moved BACK upstairs, where they belong, in the luxurious bridal salon ABOVE the shop.  Please visit The English Department website at theenglishdept.com to schedule an appointment to try on both our vintage and new designer wedding gowns, or pop in Saturday between 3-6pm to check out the selection.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for being so kind and patient while I've awkwardly and not very gracefully tried to figure this all out. Simplifying can be a lot more complicated than I thought. 



Friday, May 6, 2016

The One That Got Away...

When a dress this fabulous pops up on our Instagram feed, you can bet it's going to go quick. This late 50's silk polka dot dress from Bullocks in Pasadena was snatched up within seconds of being posted. So did the fabulous butterfly print dress below. So if you really want the GOODS,  be sure to follow us on Instagram

But don't fret, all of these lovelies have just arrived and are still available! 

1960's Citrus Sorbet cotton cocktail dress by Jerry Gilden, waist 26".
1960's Pink Champagne beaded cocktail party dress, size 4-6.

1950's inspired red polka dot net prom dress, waist 27". 

1960's silk floral in spring red with buttons up the back, waist 26".
1950's Melon Swirl cotton sundress, waist 26".
1960's do the 20's--quite well I might add! Gorgeous 60's straw cloche hat by Mr. John and fabulous sequin and ostrich trimmed flapper dress. Dress is a size large. 
Exquisite 1960's pane velvet deep cherry red cocktail hat by Ronnie. 
Gorgeous 1960's stilettos by Henry Waters, Shoes of Consequence. Size 9. 

I've always been obsessed with vintage silk floral prints, the colors on this little 60's silk shift dress are so saturated and yummy. I can't resist them! Size small.

Come by and see all the new arrivals! I'd love to help you find the perfect dress.