Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Penniless,

Glamour Puss in her late 50's Scaasi cocktail dress, a dress that literally took her breath away.

Dear Glamour Puss,

I want to be stylish—I truly do! But I’m flat broke. How can I look good when a Celine jacket touted by all the fashion magazines costs thousands? Forget about diamonds, even a nice vintage dress would set me back a C-note and I’m struggling to make the rent as it is. What’s a girl to do?

--Penniless in Portland

Dear Penniless,

Let’s just get it out there right now: diamonds are aging. They truly are. Heck, you could sling a tennis bracelet on the Gerber baby and she’d instantly turn into Phyllis Diller.

With that burden lifted, let the Puss share with you some of the secrets of glamour on a shoestring: 
First, spend good money where it counts. You can’t cheap out on bras, for instance. You could wear priceless Dior, but with saggy boobs you might as well have shopped at Target. Get fitted for a bra, and buy one that keeps the girls firmly in place. Here’s a tip: One of the Puss’s stylish pals buys top quality lingerie, but only in black so it doesn’t get dingy. Cheap shoes, foundation, and dye jobs tell, too. 

Next, buy quality. Quality lasts and flatters. But to buy quality, you have to know quality. Here’s where vintage shopping comes in. In the 1960s and earlier, coats often had double-bound button holes, and skirts might have six darts in the front and the rear to shape your torso. Skirts and sometimes dresses were fully lined so that the garment skimmed your body. The fabrics were nicer too—softer, thicker, more interesting. Blindfold the Puss, and by touch alone she can sort 1980s from 1940s wool. Style-wise, one beautifully crafted, three-ply Pringle 1950s cashmere sweater is worth more than an armload of J. Crew Chinese cashmere pullovers with their curling hems and cheap cuts. Plus, the vintage Pringle costs a whole lot less. When you're shopping vintage, look at all of the clothes that catch you eye, not just those in your size. Zeroing in on a shapely armhole or Normandy-milled mohair will become second nature.

Do what you have to do when love strikes. Occasionally a dress or a brooch will take your breath away. When your heart clenches, you simply must buy the item and figure out how to pay for it later. Years ago between jobs, the Puss bought an exceptional parure at the Xtabay. The necklace itself was so beautiful that one of the city’s top drag queens proposed marriage so that she and the Puss could meld jewelry collections. The Puss paid for the parure through a frugality campaign. For instance, when she went out, instead of ordering two martinis, she bought one house wine and deducted the difference from her mental tally of the parure’s cost. In six weeks, the parure was paid for, and the Puss still prances around the house in it when she’s feeling frisky.
Darling Penniless pretty thing, Glamour Puss has so much more to share with you! But we’ve already bored our readers with too long a post as it is. Come back next week for part two of style on a shoestring.

Kiss kiss,

Glamour Puss

p.s.Invest in quality. Here are some new arrivals at Xtabay this week that will look good for years to come...

65 years and counting: this exquisite 40's rayon evening gown has stood the test of time and still has the power to turn heads. Waist size 26"/ 

1960's Courreges wool jacket--still chic after 45 years....

Another pristine wool coat from the 60's by Courreges. 

Incredible wool and leather trimmed suit by 60's designer Samuel Robert. Chic together or separately .

Another set by Samuel Robert from the 60's. Perfect. Size small

The indispensable little midnight blue cocktail dress by Chanel will keep you looking gorgeous for a lifetime.

 Written for Xtabay by Angela Sanders who moonlights as Glamour Puss. Thanks Puss for your endless inspiration!

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