F***ed and fabulous: Sara’s take on vintage underdogs

Hello! Today’s guest post comes while we’re off gallivanting around Newgrange today.

Awhile back, I saw a comment on another blog (I believe it was Janey’s) from the ever-stylish Sara of Lilies & Remains. She used a term to refer to the dark horses in the vintage clothing world: they were fucked and fabulous. (Actually she was polite enough not to drop the f-bomb.) I though this was a fantastic turn of phrase, and immediately knew I  wanted to ask Sara if she’d be willing to share more. Thankfully for all of us here today, she was!

So read on for Sara’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous outfits and take on vintage style…


Hello, hello! The lovely Tasha asked me to do a guest post for her while her & Mel take a trip to Ireland (lucky duckies!) For those of you who don’t know me (and let’s be real, it’s many of you), my name is Sara, I run Lilies & Remains, and I’m a 40s gal. We all have our reasons for loving vintage, and it varies from person to person. We all also have different ways of wearing it – some of us mix it with modern, some of us are die-hard era-appropriate, some of us only want pristine pieces. You know, those magical pieces that somehow made it 70 years, and seem to be completely unworn? Well I tell you what… the latter one is not me. I’m an advocate for the vintage underdogs.

There is a mushy spot in my heart for those poor wounded birds that are looking a bit shabby these days. I can mend until my fingers bleed, but there are some wounds of time that no needle can fix. Disintegrating fabric, color fade, bleeding dye… these are irreversible problems. So what is a girl to do? Throw them away? The thought makes my soul ache, for vintage is completely irreplaceable. Every piece that dies a true death is one less beautiful vintage frock in existence. Such a shame.

I called these poor babies “f***ed but fabulous.” And when it comes down to it? The people I encounter throughout the day notice the “fabulous”, not the “f***ed.” Every time.  For example, this 40s dress & hat.

F***ed and fabulous: Lilies and Remains

My boss tried to wash a stain off the dress’s bodice… and the colors melted down the front. So it became mine. The hat? Completely faded straw & a rose covered in tiny rust stains.

I get so many compliments when I wear this, it’s absurd. I’ve literally been chased down the street.

F***ed and fabulous: Lilies and Remains
I own some things that will only get thrown away once they turn to dust, and blow off my body. This 40s rayon jersey dress, for example… it has at least 50 holes. When I hold it up to the light, it looks like swiss cheese. But it’s the perfect comfy summer dress. I don’t feel guilty wearing it to a barbeque, spilling beer on it, and rolling around in the grass. It’s got life left in it, because someone still loves it.

F***ed and fabulous: Lilies and Remains

This 20s coat was acquired when I was working as a buyer at a vintage shop. It only has tattered shreds of a lining left, the raccoon fur has bald edges, and the wool is riddled with holes. I couldn’t buy it for the shop; my boss would’ve murdered me. And the seller was going to donate it to Goodwill. So I gave him $10 and took it home for myself. 20s isn’t even my era. But I wasn’t about to let a deco delight get thrown in a donation bin; it would mean its true demise. I’ve had it for 2 years, and let me tell you, it will be loved for many years to come.

F***ed and fabulous: Lilies and Remains

I suppose part of me is drawn to these pieces in the same way I want to adopt ALL THE CATS from the humane society. I just want to save them & care them, for someone else may not. What if the light fade on the 40s dress below made someone throw it away? *Sadness!*

F***ed and fabulous: Lilies and Remains

But the other side is more practical. When things are already shabby, I don’t feel as guilty for having an upset, making a new stain, or whatever it may be. I can live my life, wearing what I love, and not inhibit myself (or my ease of movement!)

I realize not everyone is like me; there are people who would be horrified to wear a hole-ridden dress in public. That’s totally fine! Everyone should wear what makes them comfortable & feel great… But save the f***ed but fabulous for the rest of us, muahaha!

I’m very much looking forward to hearing what you gals think on the matter! Thanks so much to Tasha for letting me make an appearance here ☺

xox
Sara


Thanks, Sara! And I hope her post filled with gorgeous vintage clothing will make you think twice about what still has life left in it and is worth wearing. Some of my favorite vintage pieces are far from perfect, but I’m happy to keep on wearing them as long as I can.

Be sure to stop by Lilies & Remains to see more of Sara’s beautiful and unique vintage style!

xo

Filed: Vintage Dibs and Dabs

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Golly, 32 Comments!

  • Wow, these finds are wonderful! I can’t even see the imperfections. I don’t particularly own many original vintage pieces, but this inspires me :)

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  • I love this attitude towards vintage clothing! Of course the perfect and unworn items have their place as well, but it’s nice for the less perfect things to be worn and loved as well.

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  • I absolutely love this attitude! I feel much the same way about pieces like this. They still deserve to be loved, and since they’re far from museum quality already what’s a little more wear and tear going to do except allow someone to get a little more use out of something? I have an antique embroidered handkerchief that was my great grandmother’s. My grandmother gave it to me a few years ago, and at first I felt like I couldn’t use it because it was “an antique”. Then I realized how silly that was. It was made to be used, and my grandmother had been doing just that until she decided I should have it (I have the same initial so the monogram matches). She has always had that attitude about things like “the good chine” or “the silver”. They were meant to be used, and saving them for special occasions is a waste of that utility.

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  • I love this! As a seller of vintage, I struggle with where to draw the line for things I list in my shop, but I have always wondered if there are other people out there like me who really do not care about a few moth holes, a poorly repaired seam or some fading. I wear “imperfect” clothes all the time and I agree, the “fabulous” usually wins out. And I, too, feel a bit of relief about not having to treat my clothes like museum pieces. I wear (and sell) vintage that is meant to be worn and lived in. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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  • I am totally with you on collecting and wearing vintage. I love the beauty, fabrics and designs weither they are perfect or not. Same goes for old houses ;) Although I don’t collect old houses, it would be hard to live in them all, but clothing, fabric and trims, oh yes!

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  • I really understand your attitude. I’ve purchased many vintage pieces that aren’t perfect or even need some work, and they often turn out to be some of my favorites for the very reasons you cited above. NOS is nice, pristine condition is fascinating to me, but being realistic I can get more not so perfect clothing for less money and get more wear out if it. I’m worse with vintage sewing patterns. I simply cannot leave them in some thrift store when they’re practically given away and fabulous forties dress patterns would end up as trash or some craft project (Nooooo!). So, even though I’ve get a few hundred vintage patterns already , I can’t leave them there to be destroyed and lost forever. At least I may sew them up some day
    So, all this to say keep rescuing precious vintage clothes, and preserve a part of the past forever.
    Sarah

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  • Love this post! I have a lot of vintage clothing that fits this standard. Especially when you are looking at antique or 20s 30s 40s vintage, so much of it has condition issues but is so special and beautiful anyway!

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  • Love this post! I love how Sara rescues these gems and gives them a good home. In all honesty, it is so difficult to see the flaws in these photographs. We can’t expect perfection in vintage and this just goes to show how lovely some of these “saved” gems are.

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  • amazing. this double F slogan should be on a tshirt.

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  • Awesome post, Sara! And thanks for inviting her, Tasha! Sara is one of the best vintage gals I know and is a delight to shop with!

    Also, that hat in the first photo. Guh. Oh my god!

    And thank you for the shout out! I wouldn’t be surprised if it was me, as Sara and I have hung out on a few occasions.

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  • Ohhh! Thanks again for asking me to do this Tasha, it was a complete pleasure! I’m glad I’m not the only one who agrees these babies still have life left in them :D Three cheers for the fucked but fabulous!
    xoxoxox
    Sara

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  • Oh yes, I’m a big fan of the fucked and fabulous, being a piece of that myself. :-P

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  • I adore this!!! I’m regularly disappointed in people who come into my shop and squinch up their noses at a loose thread or run or tiny hole. Clothing is meant to be lived in! We refer to it as “visibly vintage” to customers (but I like your term better!). Gorgeous outfits and big props to you for keeping them from going to waste!

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  • Those outfits are uh-mazing, not surprised you’ve been chased down the street!!

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  • Hah! I have many of these Fucked and Fabulous Frocks!

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  • LOOOOOOOOVE this gal and adore this post.

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  • such a big fan of pieces with slight issues…and some with big issues! I always get worried to list them but they so deserve more of a life….I always just hope the gal that buys ‘em understands the nuances of such pieces….

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  • Wow, just wow! What a great way to think about thing. And those outfits really are just flat out fabulous.

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  • this is a great post! The coat is divine and I agree wear it wear it wear it!

    retro rover

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  • Love this! And she’s right, I’ve never had someone notice the effed up parts of a dress, only the fab ;)

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  • Hear, hear!!! This is my philosophy too. Pristine vintage is nice and all, but the damaged pieces are usually significantly cheaper, and I think signs of decay make them look much cooler. If I wanted my vintage to be look perfect, I’d wear reproduction!! Vintage has seen decades of history, so it’s a little boring to me if it doesn’t show some signs of a full life. Your pieces are all so lovely, Sara. And the melting colors on that first dress… OMG! It adds so much dreamy beauty to the print.

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  • Yes, this post definitely made me happy. And, you know what else I thoroughly enjoyed about it . . . she is not stick, six o’clock, skinny . . . like I’m not.

    I will be visiting her blog. Thank you for allowing her to guest post.

    Cheers,

    Lyric
    http://www.sewcroandquilt.wordpress.com

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  • You can really go so far by just wearing with confidence. She’s adorable and so are her clothes. :D

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  • I understand how you feel… but I don’t like to wear vintage with flaws… some are acceptable for me but if it’s a bigger hole or stain, I don’t feel good even if I know that nobody will see it except me… but I will never throw vintage in garbage even if they are “finished”…

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  • I love this post! I wish more people were comfortable wearing vintage that had flaws. I’ve also worn coats with shredded linings and swiss cheese dresses. I posted in my blog a while back about one of my favorite dresses, flawed when I bought it and then totally worn out by me – One of my Favorite 1940s Dresses – I loved that dress.

    I also have a 1940s plaid wool jacket that I wore until it was too frayed to fix. I keep it hanging on the wall in my bedroom now. It’s special because I wore that jacket when we went to get our dog Boris back in 2001.

    I also sell vintage and when I’m describing something with minor flaws that’s still totally wearable and priced accordingly, I know that it’s going to sit there for a while until the right person comes along who can appreciate it, flaws and all.

    Carol

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  • This was such an interesting read, and what a gorgeous lady Sara is! Thank you for sharing this Tasha!

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  • […] Sara from Lilies & Remains shared some of her favorite vintage underdogs in her closet […]

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  • Totally right! These clothes are precious still and we should be wearing them like that :-)

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  • WOW! You go gal..
    I love finds of vintage clothes from 1920s up to 1950s, and i dont care if there’s a hole or a stain on it! ;) xx

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  • […] making some stupid errors in my Mimi. For a start the collar is a little wonky! I recently read a guest post on By Gum, By Golly by Sara of Lilies & Remains on her theory about f***ed but fabulous […]

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  • This is the best expression I’ve come across in a long time! I can’t express properly how much I agree with the sentiment too. Once we have an item that we love, many of us keep wearing it even when it develops flaws and maybe even take the time to mend it (I rarely actually do that), so why not accept a few flaws to begin with?

    Sara, your beautiful flawed clothes are an inspiration! They really do look fabulous, and some of those “flaws” I would never have noticed (especially the colour running – it looks like it’s meant to be like that).

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  • I see it as the imperfections have lived a life – bit like us older ones!
    I’m slowly morphing my way into vintage bit by bit, especially being inspired by some family 50s pieces that I saved.

    Reply

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