Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Top 10 Xtabay Dresses

Hi Everyone! It's me, guest blogger Liz Devereaux. When you hang out at Xtabay as much as I do, you see a lot of beautiful things come and go, and sometimes you become deeply infatuated with certain pieces and want so badly for someone to try it on, look amazing and take it home!

Here is my Top 10 for current in-store & online Xtabay Dresses:

#10 // Vintage 1960s Wool Black/White Houndstooth Jacket and Skirt by Evan Picone Size S

Waist 26" // $198

This matching set is so awesome because of the quality, condition and mix-and-match possibilities. I know I don't have enough houndstooth in my closet and if you're lacking some then this might be the piece to try on & fall in love with. It's got such a sweet jacket with the collar and buttons, oh my! The pencil skirt would be a great piece to wear with a blouse and cardigan. It's such a classic print and   shape-- I think we all need more houndstooth in our lives!

#9 // Vintage 1950s Brocade Navy and Black Dress with 3/4 Length Sleeve Size M

Waist 28" // $148

This is a great brocade dress because of the navy and black color combination. There is something about the bell shaped skirt and the sleeves that makes this one pop out to me when my eyes are scanning the racks.  On the right figure, this dress is stunning and can really be dressed up or down which is easier than many dresses because of the navy/black brocade pattern. A deep magenta cardigan and some cute flats and this dress is casual for a weekend lunch. Dress it up with black heels and some chunky glitzy jewelry and it's great for a cocktail party.

#8 // Vintage 1960s Camel Colored Wool Wiggle Dress and Cape With Button Closure Size M

Waist 30" // $198
This matching cape and dress set are great for fall and the rainy season because the caramel color is super tasty and the tie at the waist makes the outfit more va-va-va-voom while still retaining its sweetness. I can't express how much I love capes! Not only are they an awesome vintage piece to have, but they are also super "on-trend" for Fall.  However, they are way more expensive at retail stores, but they won't have the same history and uniqueness that a vintage cape from Xtabay has. I can see a very chic woman wearing this outfit separate or together while walking on a cloudy day and all heads turning at her grace and style.

#7 //  Vintage 1960s Pat Sandler Mini All-Over Sequin Drop Waist Dress Size M

Waist 28" // $198

This is the ultimate party sequin dress! The shape of the dress it outstanding and the sequin zig-zag pattern in a bronze and gold tone is really flattering. I love how the bodice is very fitted and then at the drop-waist it flares out. The cap sleeves are really cute too but the dress itself is very sexy. I think this would be perfect for a holiday or New Years Party. I can assure you that this is one of those head-turning pieces in your closet that you'll want to throw your own parties just to wear this fabulous dress.

#6 // Vintage 1950s Silk Brown 2-Tone Dress with Bow Bust Size M

Waist 28" //  $168

I love the print on this dress and its understated sex appeal. This is one of those dresses that could be passed up when on the rack, but is absolutely worth trying on because the ruching at the bust and the silhouette are amazing. I would love for someone to wear this to work, a party, a "Mad Men" themed event or just running errands around town when you want to look special and unique.

#5 // Vintage 1960s Mam'selle Wiggle Dress and Coat with Peter Pan Collar Size S

Waist 26" // $298

This is a ridiculous and amazing piece of clothing. The jacket is stunning and the dress is stunning. The peter pan collar is amazing and so is the waist-cinching belt. This wiggle dress is going to fit the lady who takes it home like a glove, a beautiful vintage wool metaphorical 'glove'. Separate these pieces or wear them together, but no matter what it's great for work, weekends or happy hour with friends. It's sweet, it's sophisticated and it's a very desirable vintage brand.

#4 // Vintage 1960s All Over Beaded Cocktail Party Dress by Gene Shelly for Dale Lin Size L

Waist 29" // $298

This all-over beaded cocktail dress is so stunning when worn that it blows my mind that some lucky lady hasn't picked it up yet! But lucky for you Reader, it is available! It has droplets of beads that shimmy and shake when worn and is the show stopper we all wish we had in our closets for that special event! Wear it for a wedding dress, to a chic holiday or New Years party, wear it to a cocktail party! Wherever you choose to wear it, you'll look and feel your best. That's what vintage beauties like this one can do for you - take you places and make you feel gorgeous!

#3 // Vintage 1950s Pink and White Rose Print Elbow Length Sleeve Chiffon Dress Size L

Waist 30" //  $198
I love this dress because of its sweetness and sophistication. It is delicate but also very wearable. I can see this at a summer BBQ, a friends wedding (maybe even your own), or just a fabulous date or weekend dress. It has this awesome rose print on the under-layer and the same rose print on the chiffon top layer that adds a real multi-dimension effect to the dress and takes it from Wow! to Holy Cow! (sorry, that's cheesy)

#2 // Vintage 1950s Crepe Layered Bow Little Black Dress by Mardi Gras Size S

Waist 26" // $198
This is the PERFECT little black dress! It is so Audrey Hepburn and the shape from head to hem is exquisite! The cap sleeve, the bust, the waist, the layered hem, the bow at each hip! This dress makes me write in all capital letters and lots of exclamation points. That's how great it is. I love how this dress because of the fabric and overall shape of the dress lends itself to beng versatile still. It is definetely appropriate for a cocktail party or work function, but it is also going to be adorable if worn with a sweater and flats. Dress it up, dress it down. It is totally fantastic and one of many stand-out LBD's Xtabay has to offer.

#1 // Vintage 1960s Silk Chiffon Seafoam Green Flowing Cape Dress Size M

Waist 28" // $148
I love the color and I love the fabric and I love the shape! Every time I see this dress I think of some dreamy Mad Men episode where there is a party and the women are dressed to impress. This dress sure does impress with this flowing cape down the back and the neckline that is so effortless and chic. I can imagine a woman wearing this to a holiday party, out dancing, out for drinks at an upscale restaurant or cocktail party. It is such a fun and flirty dress and in such a unique and lovely color too!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How To Be More Beautiful: A Free Guide

Sometimes it seems if you want to keep a hand in the beauty game, you have to have unlimited time and a really, really deep pocketbook. I look in the mirror and see enough potential for work to add a wing to a plastic surgeon’s Tuscan villa. Then there’s the Pilates I should be doing, the vegan diet I should be eating, the botox, highlights, laser hair removal, and jillion dollar creams. It’s enough to make a girl throw in the towel.

But a few weeks ago I discovered the key to looking beautiful, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
I had clicked on a video on Garance Doré’s blog where she interviewed a fashion house’s creative director famous for her tremendous style. The still photograph introducing the video showed Garance—a pretty but not unusually gorgeous woman—and the creative director. It was clear from the creative director’s intriguing styling, willowy form, and chic glasses that she was the beautiful one. She was the one to watch.

Then I saw the video. The creative director sounded self-conscious and guarded, and even as a woman approaching a “certain age” her voice hesitated. She seemed uneasy in her own skin, and studiously cold. Meanwhile, Garance smiled and asked questions and came off as warm and authentic. When she laughed, the skin around her eyes crinkled in a way that made me want to laugh with her.
The beautiful one wasn’t the famous creative director at all. It was the woman who was comfortable and open and clearly finding joy in what she was doing. If I met both people at a party, I would migrate straight to Garance, and so would you.

Fire and Ice: Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington.
Think about it: You see two women. One has satin-smooth skin, a precise haircut, and a Vogue-worthy wardrobe. But she won’t look you in the eye and seems vaguely displeased with her company and situation. She picks at her lunch and drops names from the dinner party she was at the weekend before. The other woman wears a wrinkled dress of uncertain provenance, and her hair keeps escaping its bobby pins. Her mascara has smudged, and her laugh lines show. But she smiles when she sees you and rushes to give you a hug. She’s excited about the fascinating book she just read. She has nothing to prove, and she’s happy to be where she is.
Do I really need to ask who the beautiful one is?

Lipo, collagen fillers, and, frankly, even a good girdle are beyond my budget these days. But it costs nothing to walk in the world with openness, joy, and confidence. (O.K., maybe it does cost a little in therapy, but still.) Grandma was right. True beauty doesn’t come in a jar. 

~Posted by Angela Sanders for Xtabay. Angela is a regular contributor to the perfume blog "Now Smell This" and is one of Xtabay's first and favorite customers. Thanks Angie!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Top Picks

1930's silk velvet bias cut dress with incredible deco burnout pattern in the back. Waist stretches up to 38". 
1950's Neapolitan Dream in pink and brown, studded with rhinestones. Waist 26". Designed by Robert Goldberg. 
Elegant 1960's moss green silk column gown by high end 60's designer Rappi. Rappi designed for Jackie Kennedy among other celebrities. Dress is a small size 2-4.
All the benefits accompany this sexy little 60's ivory fringe cocktail dress. Waist 26".
The Divine Lady Alice 1950's New Look taffeta party dress with matching bolero. Waist 24".
New-old Stock leather coat with white mink trim from 1967. Charles Talbot. Size small.
1960's Anne Fogerty Boutique all over ruffle gown in rayon crepe. So much fun. Size 4-6.
Heavily Beaded 1960's Gene Shelley ivory cocktail/wedding/New Years Eve/ Mother of the Bride dress. Waist 29".
1960's Kimenetta slub silk buckle closure jacket and matching shantung silk dress, with leather trim and belt. Simple, chic office friendly ensemble. Size 5-6.
Another leather jacket with mink trim by Charles Talbot, this coat buttons up the side. Original tags still attached. 
One of my favorite pieces on the shop right now. 1960's Mam'selle wool dress and coat set. Size small. 

1950's grey velvet stunner. Can't believe we still have this! Waist 26".

 See anything you can't live without? Email me at for details. We ship all over the great big world. If you are in Portland, be sure to come and visit our boutique on SE Clinton St.

Thanks for looking:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Curvy Girls: Listen Up!

1950's Mocha Satin Party Dress, Waist 34". 198.

One of the comments heard most often in a vintage clothing store—right after “Where do you get all your stuff?” and “My grandma had earrings like that”—is “People sure were skinny back then.”

Listen. I’m a curvaceous gal. I can clean off a platter of steak-frites faster than you can say “Jack Sprat’s wife.” But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve glimpsed an alluring bit of colorful silk on the rack and eagerly pulled out the dress, only to discover it was too big for me.

That’s right—too big. It’s true that the Xtabay stocks plenty of twos and fours, but stylish girls in the double digit sizes have a good selection, too.

Back in the Mad Men days and beyond, not everyone was thin. Joan aside, think about your old family photos. I bet you had at least one zaftig aunt, and if they weren’t curvy to start with, probably most of your relatives expanded as they matured. In fact, one of the reasons there are so many pristine, tiny prom dresses is that they never got much wear because their owners grew out of them once they saw a little bit of the world and had children.

Which brings me to my next point: often these "normal-sized" vintage dresses are the ones with the best style. Sure, you’ll always find a few dowdy mother-of-the-bride numbers, but you’ll also find some knockout dresses that could only have been chosen by a woman who knew her way around garter belts and Oysters Rockerfeller.
Still skeptical? It’s about time to start thinking about a cocktail dress or two for the holiday season. Come down to Xtabay and ask for some suggestions. First, you’ll be assessed so that your figure can be matched with the shape of dress that flatters it best. Then—I guarantee you—you’ll have hangers full of lace, lamé, and brocade to model. Plus, vintage coats, stoles, purses, hats, and jewelry fit everyone, no matter what size and shape you are. 

But vintage shoes? People sure had small feet back then…

~Angela Sanders is a guest blogger. Thanks Angie for your post. Here are a few of the fabulous curve celebrating dresses we have available in the store right now. ..

Stunning Autumn Floral Party dress from the late 50's, waist 30". 

1950's Joan Holloway Style silk cocktail dress by Murray Schneider. Waist 33", 198.

Stunning 1950's blush rose wiggle dress, waist 29". 

Amazing heavily beaded 60's cocktail dress by Victoria Royal, waist 32". 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Xtabay Wedding Gowns Come To Life

Jade and Cory in the Park Blocks of Downtown Portland shortly after their wedding ceremony at the Old Church.
Jade wears a 1950's embroidered tulle tea-length wedding dress from Xtabay Bridal. 

Bessie wears a 1950's couture tulle and lace gown by Mary Carter. 

Malinda and her husband look blissful after their wedding ceremony, Malinda wore one of our vintage inspired hollywood glamour gowns. 

Emily poses in her 1950's Priscilla of Boston Wedding from Xtabay Bridal. Emily appeared on "Say Yes To The Dress" and had to come all the way to Portland, Oregon to find her dream wedding gown. She will be wed at the Grotto in NE Portland. Can't wait to see the wedding pictures. 

Caryn and Mike had a sophisticated ceremony at the Portland Art Museum, Caryn chose this gorgeous cotton eyelet dress by 50's designer Pat Premo. Love the shoes! On both of them!

Congratulations to all of them! Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon is open by appointment or stop in on Saturdays when we are open to the public. Keep sending me wedding pictures! I love to post them:)