Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bringing Beauty Back

Late 1950's Silk Organza Cocktail Dress by Miss America. Waist 27".

1950s "woodland" set, 98. 

1950s Hydrangea Blue party dress, waist 25".

1950s "Blue Galaxies" set, 125.
Gorgeous slipper satin wedding dress from 1949. Waist 26".

1929 Graduation dress in pale blue.

Beautiful 1950s pink Regency set, 125.
1950s Cahill off the shoulder tea length wedding dress, waist 29".
1950s pink and lavender set, 98.
1940s silky rayon afternoon dress, waist 26".
1950s Fruit Salad brooch and earrings set, 98.
1940s Frank Starr rayon crepe evening gown, waist 28".
1950s Schreiner brooch and earrings set, 148. 
Gorgeous 1950's sculpted silk evening jacket, med.
1950s grey starburst set, 98.
1960s Gene Shelley sequined evening gown, med.
1950s Kramer New York necklace and earring set, 198. 
Early 1950s silk cocktail dress, waist 26".

1950s Weiss set, 98.
1940s garnet evening gown, 42" waist. 

People ask me all the time what I specialize in at Xtabay. I usually tell them my main focus is on cocktail and party dresses from the mid-century and vintage bridal. But what I really mean to say is that we specialize in beauty and beauty is having a hard time of it these days.

 Looking around my Southeast Portland neighborhood  I sometimes feel I'm on the set of "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome". There is a post-apocalyptic vibe going on here that paired with the rainy weather can make me feel downright suicidal sometimes. A lot of folks in my neighborhood wear what appear to be war-torn rags. Washed out black and occasionally some army green are the mode o' day here on Southeast Clinton Street.  I feel prissy and foolish sometimes just wearing color. 

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that pink is my favorite color. Pink and gold together is even better. I am shocked when so often I talk to brides that say they hate sparkle and shine. They are either vehemently opposed to satin or scared straight of lace. So many beautiful brides are afraid of looking too pretty on their wedding day. One bride even claimed she hated flowers. 

I tend to believe that the reason most human beings (living outside of the Portland Metro area) are drawn to sparkly shiny things because it reminds them somewhere deep within their consciousness of who they really are. We are all essentially stardust right? Why not sparkle while you're still alive?!

So my main mission at Xtabay is to bring beauty back. My wish is that by sharing these beautiful, wearable works of art to my blog readers, Facebook followers, Pinterest pinners, Etsy shoppers, Twitter tweeters and Instagram photogrammers I will inspire people to shine a little brighter. 

My name is Liz Gross and I love the color pink.  Thanks for listening. 


  1. What a great post - I agree we can all use a little sparkle in our lives. That's what I love about Xtabay - just walking in feels good because it's so pretty. Pink and gold is a lovely combination - don't be embarrassed!
    I was at a conference recently where the difference between East Coast (pressed, tidy) and West Coast (er, rumpled and comfortable) was pretty stark. You're doing SE Portland a huge favor...

  2. I love it! Life is too short not to sparkle and be beautifully dressed :-)

  3. Oh goodness, I could have written this post myself, sister!

    I am in Phoenix, AZ, Casual Capital of the World. People here do not care, simply put. Because of the heat, people wear as little as possible most of the time, even when they really shouldn't, if you know what I mean....Portland is my hometown and it's saddening to me that it looks like it's not much better up there.

    Your things are mind-blowingly amazing and my heart beats faster when I see what you have for sale. I sell vintage too, though I just set up at shows around here in the fall, winter and spring before it gets hot. (I don't have a shop, and probably never will while I live here. Two of the good ones have gone out of business in the last year.)

    I get discouraged too; people usually don't get what we are trying to do. But I keep doing it anyway because sometimes someone comes along and DOES get it, appreciates the Beauty and the style we are trying to convey. We are recyclers, artists, designers, curators, and classy as hell. We're not alone, just unique in our own ways. Thank the Universe for what we do because the world would certainly be a hell of alot more boring if we didn't!!

    All the best!
    Jenny Kuller
    Phoenix, AZ(unfortunately)