Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vintage Fashion Dispatch from Billings, Montana

Deciding what to wear on vacation isn't always easy. For instance, what do you pack to take to Paris or New York City so you don't feel like a rube? (I've traveled to both places with contemporary clothes and vintage, and it was always in vintage that I felt the most stylish, the most like me.)

Urban dressing is one thing, but what about the high prairie of Montana? What about the land of snap Western shirts and Walmart togs? Here again, I packed vintage, and it was perfect.

Every morning in Montana, I got up early, put a cotton, floral 1930s dressing gown over my peach 1940s rayon slip, and sat on the back porch with a cup of coffee while I watched my father feed and water the horses. The dogs ran in the pasture and chased prairie dogs.

I went to the Billings farmers market and to the Muzzleloader for breakfast in 1950s cotton day dresses. I went shooting clay pigeons while wearing a denim skirt and a sleeveless 1960s blouse. A 1960s green and white dress with a ruffled collar and hem was cool and fresh at the Montana Fair.

The big test: Would vintage fly for a night of dancing at Montana Chad's? The friend I traveled with tried to convince me to forgo the black 1950s cotton dress with a tight bodice and velvet trim for a denim skirt and cowboy boots. I wore the vintage dress anyway and had men coming up to me all night admiring my dress and asking to dance. One farmer from South Dakota, in town for the stock car races, gestured toward the dance floor and said, "I've got to dress with a woman in a dress like that!" (Most of the other women wore jeans and tank tops, while most of the men wore western shirts and jeans with tooled leather belts. A few had on cowboy hats.)

The moral of the story is to pack vintage. You won't be sorry. Come in to the Xtabay with your itinerary and we'll set you up.


  1. I always struggle with traveling in style as well. I just got back from a 2 week trip to Nicaragua (as in Central America!) and opted for modern clothes that I didn't mind sweating in and getting muddy because of the rain. In this case, I'm glad I left my vintage at home.

  2. I love traveling! When I last went to LA, I wore this great 50s dress when we went shopping, and all the shopgirls on melrose loved it. I cant wait to pack another suitcase! And this time I have a travel hat box ;)